devious

play
adjective de·vi·ous \ˈdē-vē-əs, -vyəs\

Definition of devious

  1. 1a :  wandering, roundabout a devious pathb :  moving without a fixed course :  errant devious breezes

  2. 2 :  out-of-the-way, remote upon devious coasts

  3. 3a :  deviating from a right, accepted, or common course devious conductb :  not straightforward :  cunning a devious politician; also :  deceptive a devious trick a devious plot

deviously

adverb

deviousness

noun

devious was our Word of the Day on 04/01/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of devious in a Sentence

  1. a dishonest and devious politician

  2. He took us by a devious route to the center of the city.

Recent Examples of devious from the Web

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

The "Lost" History of Devious

If you think someone devious has lost their way, you're right, etymologically speaking - the word derives from the Latin adjective devius, itself formed from the prefix de- ("from" or "away") and the noun "via" ("way"). When "devious" was first used in the late 16th century, it implied a literal wandering off the "way," suggesting something that meandered or had no fixed course (as in "a devious route" or "devious breezes"). Relatively quickly, however, the word came to suggest someone or something that had metaphorically rather than literally left the "right path" or to deceitful (rather than "straight"-forward) behavior.

Origin and Etymology of devious

Latin devius, from de from + via way — more at de-, way


First Known Use: 1599


DEVIOUS Defined for English Language Learners

devious

play
adjective

Definition of devious for English Language Learners

  • : willing to lie and trick people in order to get what is wanted

  • : not straight or direct : having many twists and turns


DEVIOUS Defined for Kids

devious

play
adjective de·vi·ous \ˈdē-vē-əs\

Definition of devious for Students

  1. 1 :  sneaky, dishonest

  2. 2 :  not straight :  having many twists and turns a devious trail



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