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 abuse what 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 the I'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 the there'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
2 : tease, annoy

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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

But the devil is in the details, and some people are holding off the celebrations for now. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Good news for young startups as India eases scrutiny on angel investment," 5 July 2019 The dance features a series of characters — a devil, a witch, a dog, a bull, a goat and a donkey — that fight the jaguar, who is struck down in the final clash with death, a character played by a dancer wearing a skull mask. Raúl Vilchis, New York Times, "Breaking a Mexican Tradition That Excludes Women, to Keep It Alive in Brooklyn," 27 July 2019 The first man who stepped on the Moon 50 years ago this week wasn’t an explorer, an astronaut or devil-may-care risktaker. Jamie Turner, cleveland.com, "How Neil Armstrong earned the moon landing’s lead role: Apollo 11 at 50," 16 July 2019 Arizona State reached out to Pike about dropping the smiling devil with a pitchfork logo several years ago. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "New logos for Lawrence Central, Lawrence North coming this year," 16 July 2019 Neither the San Diego nor the San Luis Rey missions owned the land, so it was claimed to belong to the devil. Martina Schimitschek, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Escondido: Once a no man’s land, city has a rich history and bright future," 28 June 2019 The new devil doll works, too, though what makes the redo most terrifying is its allegorical take on mankind’s reliance on personal tech and what happens when something evil starts running the machines. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Who's scarier in 'Child's Play': The original Chucky or Mark Hamill's devil doll?," 20 June 2019 West’s jump to three clubs attests to the devil-may-care state of modern preempts. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, "Bridge: June 10, 2019," 10 June 2019 The devil works hard, but Scooter Braun works harder. Bethonie Butler, Washington Post, "How Scooter Braun, the mogul embroiled in the Taylor Swift drama, became so powerful," 2 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Buffalo deviled eggs, with Frank’s Hot Sauce and crumbled blue cheese. Ann Friedman, The Cut, "Not Everything Is a Side Hustle," 11 Jan. 2018 Top each deviled egg with a pickled shrimp and a sprig of fresh dill. Carrie Purcell, Country Living, "Deviled Eggs with Old Bay Shrimp," 4 Mar. 2014 Her deviled egg taco with beet greens salsa verde in a beet and corn tortilla is rightfully famous. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "10 women who are absolutely killing it at Indianapolis restaurants," 7 Mar. 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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Statistics for devil

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for devil

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

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More Definitions for devil

devil

noun

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with devil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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