dev·​il·​ish | \ ˈde-vᵊl-ish How to pronounce devilish (audio) , ˈdev-lish \

Definition of devilish

1 : resembling or befitting a devil: such as
b : mischievous, roguish a devilish grin
2 : extreme in a devilish hurry

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Other Words from devilish

devilish adverb
devilishly adverb
devilishness noun

Did You Know?

In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, Satan is usually referred to as diabolos or “slanderer” (from the Greek verb diaballein, “to slander,” literally “to throw across”). But in the Greek New Testament, the Hebrew word, which is Satanas or Satan in its Greek form, is used as if it were the devil’s proper name. The older Latin translations of the Bible retain Greek diabolos as diabolus, but St. Jerome’s version, the Vulgate, calls the devil Satan. Both words were borrowed into Old English, and we now call this figure both Satan and the Devil. The derived form devilish first appears in the 15th century.

Examples of devilish in a Sentence

She was attracted by his devilish charm. There was a devilish look of mischief in her eyes.
Recent Examples on the Web Both diseases also share a particularly devilish characteristic: Those who lack symptoms can carry and unknowingly transmit the virus. Tony Plohetski, USA TODAY, "Fauci guided U.S. through AIDS crisis, too. Survivors say it's a roadmap for coronavirus.," 19 Apr. 2020 Otherwise, the devilish warlord will utterly obliterate Mandalorian culture. Alex Kane, USA TODAY, "The Clone Wars recap: The Siege of Mandalore begins," 17 Apr. 2020 The term describes the blindingly rapid pace of change fueled by superfast processors, ubiquitous connectivity, and devilish innovation. Steven Levy, Wired, "Lockdown Has Taken Us From Internet Time to Groundhog Time," 24 Apr. 2020 At the same time, Maddon also knows Young’s office will have a devilish time determining intent, be it in an Astros game or any of the other 2,430 games in a season. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Joe Maddon claims Angels won't seek vigilante justice against Astros: 'Let's be civil and move on'," 7 Mar. 2020 Taylor, a 31-year-old Canadian, defied logic, odds and swirling, devilish winds along the Monterey Peninsula coastline. Ron Kroichick,, "Phil Mickelson wastes chance to win at Pebble Beach, falls to Nick Taylor," 9 Feb. 2020 During the past 50 years a devilish force, a Babylonian project, planned by nonsense and inexperience, has upset the lagoon. NBC News, "As sea levels rise, Venice fights to stay above the waterline," 14 Feb. 2020 The city’s cobblestone streets fill with parades of locals dressed in sheepskin, devilish masks, and fur caps representing Kurenti, a mythical figure who ushers in the spring. National Geographic, "," 31 Jan. 2020 Among one of the more important developments in dramatic animal incidents bringing a devilish attitude to the internet this week, there’s this possum who pulled off a next-level break-in. Ashley Hoffman, Time, "Chaotic Possum Who Trashed Woman's Office Has Become an Unapologetic Hero," 23 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'devilish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of devilish

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for devilish

Middle English develyssh, from devel devil entry 1 + -yssh -ish

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Time Traveler for devilish

Time Traveler

The first known use of devilish was in the 15th century

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Statistics for devilish

Last Updated

27 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Devilish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for devilish


How to pronounce devilish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of devilish

: evil and cruel
: showing a desire to cause trouble but in a way that is not serious


dev·​il·​ish | \ ˈde-və-lish How to pronounce devilish (audio) , ˈdev-lish \

Kids Definition of devilish

1 : evil and cruel

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