devil

noun
dev·​il | \ ˈde-vᵊl How to pronounce devil (audio) , dialectal ˈdi- \

Definition of devil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 often capitalized : the personal supreme spirit of evil often represented in Christian belief as the tempter of humankind, the leader of all apostate angels, and the ruler of hell usually used with the often used as an interjection, an intensive, or a generalized term of abusewhat the devil is this?the devil you say!
2 : an evil spirit : demon
3a : an extremely wicked person : fiend
b archaic : a great evil
4 : a person of notable energy, recklessness, and dashing spirit also : one who is mischievous those kids are little devils today
5 : fellow usually used in the phrases poor devil, lucky devil
6a : something very trying or provoking having a devil of a time with this problem
b : severe criticism or rebuke : hell used with theI'll probably catch the devil for this
c : the difficult, deceptive, or problematic part of something the devil is in the details
8 Christian Science : the opposite of Truth : a belief in sin, sickness, and death : evil, error
between the devil and the deep blue sea
: faced with two equally objectionable alternatives
devil to pay
: severe consequences used with thethere'll be the devil to pay if we're late

devil

verb
deviled or devilled; deviling or devilling\ ˈde-​və-​liŋ How to pronounce devilling (audio) , ˈdev-​liŋ \

Definition of devil (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to season highly deviled eggs

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Examples of devil in a Sentence

Noun She is a tricky devil, so be careful. Those kids can be little devils sometimes. He's such a lucky devil that he'll probably win the lottery someday.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Many of us had seen fire whirls, dust-devil-sized rotating columns of fire, and did not regard them as particularly dangerous. Jason M. Forthofer, Scientific American, "Can Scientists Predict Fire Tornadoes?," 20 Nov. 2019 On Saturday, on top of denying Kaepernick the right to record his workout, the NFL presented Kaepernick and his lawyers with a waiver that was probably presented as a standard practice but had all the devil in the details. Alba Anthony, Essence, "Kaepernick Is Ready To Play, As Soon As The NFL Stops Trying To ‘Play’ Him," 18 Nov. 2019 The series had certain supernatural elements (time travel was common, and ghosts, genies, and the devil himself made appearances), particularly in later seasons, with hints that Mr. Roarke was quite possibly immortal. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Guests get more than they bargained for in trailer for Fantasy Island reboot," 11 Nov. 2019 In a class on a recent evening, the younger Qazwini led an intense session on faith, proposing case studies, playing devil’s advocate and prompting a philosophical back-and-forth with his students. Washington Post, "US growth of Islam creates need for religious scholars," 4 Nov. 2019 Or were restless spirits at play throughout these stylishly told stories of ghosts, the devil and the undead. Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "‘Phantasmagoria: Reckoning’: Things go bump in the night | Review," 20 Oct. 2019 There the devil preached to them and encouraged them to plot the king’s destruction. National Geographic, "A royal obsession with black magic started Europe's most brutal witch hunts," 16 Oct. 2019 Things got worse about 4000 years ago when people introduced the dingo, a placental mammal from Asia that was a more efficient hunter than the Tasmanian tiger or devil and quickly outcompeted them. John Pickrell, Science | AAAS, "Giant reptiles once ruled Australia. Their loss sparked an ecological disaster," 11 Oct. 2019 As is often the case in boxing, the devil’s in the details. John Whisler, ExpressNews.com, "‘Heart of a champion’ saved day for San Antonio’s Mario Barrios," 10 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The menu includes ratatouille with poached eggs and speck, deviled eggs with pork belly rillettes, and avocado toast with six-minute egg. Hadley Tomicki, latimes.com, "Tacos 1986 opens in DTLA; Goat Mafia drops in on Echo Park," 24 June 2019 Things like chicken-fried deviled eggs spiked with bacon. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "Review: Lucy Cooper’s Ice House at the top of San Antonio’s bar food scene," 12 Sep. 2019 Normal, everyday deviled eggs with seasoned salt, until caviar showed up as an indulgent $30 add-on. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "Review: Fontaine’s Southern Diner & Bar finds 2-star comfort zone near the Pearl," 29 Aug. 2019 The group has become friends through the yearlong process, and recently gathered for an avocado-themed potluck, complete with homemade avocado ice cream, avocado cream pie and avocado deviled eggs. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: The quest for a more perfect California avocado," 26 July 2019 There are the classics like ham and deviled eggs but creative cooks can also whip up something a little different for adventurous eaters. Fox News, "12 Easter dinner dishes for a super Sunday," 21 Mar. 2016 They were served steak sandwiches, ham sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, deviled eggs, salads and fruit; local church groups baked pies, brownies and cookies. Bob Greene, WSJ, "A Soldier Never Forgets North Platte," 22 July 2018 Over time the bar became a restaurant where regulars would return day after day for a table d'hôte menu that might include boiled beef, jambalaya and deviled eggs in spicy remoulade sauce. Todd A. Price, NOLA.com, "Do you remember Maylie's? A lost New Orleans restaurant," 9 May 2018 The current menu includes samosas, curried Scotch egg, saag paneer pizza, chutney deviled eggs and peanut chicken tikka among its pub bites. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "Queen Vic Pub to shutter mid-July," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'devil.' 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 devil

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1787, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for devil

Noun

Middle English devel, from Old English dēofol, from Late Latin diabolus, from Greek diabolos, literally, slanderer, from diaballein to throw across, slander, from dia- + ballein to throw; probably akin to Sanskrit gurate he lifts up

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Time Traveler for devil

Time Traveler

The first known use of devil was before the 12th century

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Statistics for devil

Last Updated

23 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Devil.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/devilled. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for devil

devil

noun
How to pronounce devil (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of devil

: the most powerful spirit of evil in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam who is often represented as the ruler of hell
: an evil spirit
: a person who does bad things or causes trouble usually in a way that is not too serious

devil

noun
dev·​il | \ ˈde-vəl How to pronounce devil (audio) \

Kids Definition of devil

1 often capitalized : the most powerful spirit of evil
2 : an evil spirit : demon, fiend
3 : a wicked or cruel person
4 : an attractive, mischievous, or unfortunate person a handsome devil poor devils

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More from Merriam-Webster on devil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for devil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with devil

Spanish Central: Translation of devil

Nglish: Translation of devil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of devil for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about devil

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