devise

verb
de·​vise | \ di-ˈvīz How to pronounce devise (audio) \
devised; devising

Definition of devise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to form in the mind by new combinations or applications of ideas or principles : invent devise a new strategy
b archaic : conceive, imagine
c : to plan to obtain or bring about : plot devise one's death
2 law : to give (real estate) by will (see will entry 2 sense 1) — compare bequeath

devise

noun

Definition of devise (Entry 2 of 2)

law
1 : the act of giving or disposing of real (see real entry 1 sense 2) property by will (see will entry 2 sense 1)
2 : a will or clause of a will disposing of real property
3 : property devised by will

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from devise

Verb

devisable \ di-​ˈvī-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce devisable (audio) \ adjective
deviser noun

Did You Know?

Verb

There's something inventive about devise, a word that stems from Latin dividere, meaning "to divide." By the time devise appeared in English in the 1200s, its Anglo-French forebear deviser had accumulated an array of senses, including "to divide," "distribute," "arrange," "array," "digest," "order," "plan," "invent," "contrive," and "assign by will." English adopted most of these and added some new senses over the course of time: "to imagine," "guess," "pretend," and "describe." In modern use, we've disposed of a lot of the old meanings, but we kept the one that applies to wills. Devise traditionally referred to the transfer of real property (land), and bequeath to personal property; these days, however, devise is often recognized as applying generally to all the property in a person's estate.

Examples of devise in a Sentence

Verb

They have devised a new method for converting sunlight into electricity. she quickly devised a new scheme when the first one failed

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

European countries have been unable to devise a system for handling vessels that make rescues. Washington Post, "Captain who defied Italy and brought rescued migrants to port is released from house arrest," 3 July 2019 Republican lawmakers in the state hired a political science professor to devise a regression analysis, which selected the district map that would benefit politicians from their party the most. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Big Data Supercharged Gerrymandering. It Could Help Stop It, Too," 28 June 2019 Huebner hopes that this will allow advocates to devise materials so parents can better prepare themselves to accept and love their kids. Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News, "Many parents struggle to adjust after learning child is gay, study finds," 24 June 2019 Within hours of the sailors’ arrest, Kerry and Zarif were on the phone, trying to devise a plan to release the sailors. Trita Parsi, The New Republic, "Could Obama’s Iran Playbook Save Trump From War?," 24 June 2019 Genovés, who was inspired to devise the experiment after being a passenger on a hijacked plane, picked his subjects carefully. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Raft': Film Review," 7 June 2019 Studying sharks is a good start in helping humans to devise better systems to stay safe while protecting sharks at the same time. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Beachgoers in the US have real-life Jaws to fear," 2 June 2019 So the makeup artist had to devise a way to make the girls look radiant without any obvious-looking shimmer on the skin. Sophia Panych, Allure, "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2018: Why Charlotte Tilbury Didn't Use Highlighter on the Angels," 8 Nov. 2018 By inputting parameters like room dimension and shape, the program is able to devise a design that uses the minimal amount of concrete necessary to support a two-story timber structure that sits above the ceiling. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Cool rippling concrete ceiling was made with 3D printing," 7 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Unlike with alcohol, there is nothing like a Breathalyzer devise for cannabis that police can use. Sam Wood, Philly.com, "Medical marijuana patients, legally banned from driving, may get a pass in Pa.," 18 June 2018 A week later, undetonated explosive devises were found on another ferry. Nancy Trejos, USA TODAY, "U.S. Embassy in Mexico City downgrades threat on traveling to Playa del Carmen," 12 Mar. 2018 My coping devise for this conundrum, at least on the breakfast front, is to concentrate my efforts on the weekend. Yotam Ottolenghi, New York Times, "Weekend Breakfasts to Warm the Heart, and Belly," 18 Dec. 2017 To listen to a St. Vincent album is to let go of the guitar as rhythmic driver or pyrotechnic devise. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Day for Night headliner St. Vincent exhibits a charming duality," 13 Dec. 2017 After the attack, Henderson grabbed the cash and fled, leaving the devise behind, records show. Barbara Hijek, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Cowabunga! Man robbed gas station with cattle prod, cops say," 16 Oct. 2017 The plasma can interact with electrical currents in the upper atmosphere, creating large currents that could fry power grids and electrical devises on the planet’s surface and erase magnetic tape and other media. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Could a Magnetic Shield Protect Earth From Space Weather?," 3 Oct. 2017 Now, the busy pro relies on portable solutions like Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment, a pen-like devise that targets acne with light therapy, and simply owning herself, flaws and all. Jennifer Tzeses, Cosmopolitan, "This Beauty Blogger's Advice Will Make You Feel So Much Better About Your Breakouts," 31 Aug. 2017 That included biking and doing aqua-jogging, which meant going back and forth in the pool with a flotation devise to maintain his cardiovascular while working his leg muscles with the water absorbing the pounding. Steve Brand, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Cathedral Catholic's top runner to start season healthy," 28 Aug. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of devise

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for devise

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French deviser, diviser, to divide, distinguish, invent, from Vulgar Latin *divisare, frequentative of Latin dividere to divide

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about devise

Listen to Our Podcast about devise

Statistics for devise

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for devise

The first known use of devise was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for devise

devise

verb

English Language Learners Definition of devise

: to invent or plan (something that is difficult or complicated)

devise

verb
de·​vise | \ di-ˈvīz How to pronounce devise (audio) \
devised; devising

Kids Definition of devise

: to think up : plan, invent We devised a plan to win.
de·​vise | \ di-ˈvīz How to pronounce devise (audio) \
devised; devising

Legal Definition of devise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to give (property) by will specifically : to give (real property) by will — compare alienate, bequeath, convey

Other Words from devise

devisable adjective
devisor \ ˌde-​və-​ˈzȯr; di-​ˈvī-​ˌzȯr, -​zər How to pronounce devisor (audio) \ noun

devise

noun

Legal Definition of devise (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a gift of property made in a will specifically : a gift of real property made in a will — see also abate, ademption — compare distribution

Note: Formerly devise was used to refer only to gifts of real property, and legacy and bequest were used only to refer to gifts of personal property. These distinctions are no longer closely followed. The Uniform Probate Code uses devise to refer to any gifts made in a will.

executory devise
: a devise of an interest in land that will vest in the future upon the occurrence of a contingency and that can follow a fee simple estate

Note: Executory devises were invented as a way of getting around the rule in Shelley's case, which is now largely abolished.

general devise
: a devise that is to be distributed from the general assets of an estate and that is not of a particular thing
residuary devise
: a devise of whatever is left in an estate after all other debts and devises have been paid or distributed
specific devise
: a devise of a particular item or part of an estate that is payable only from a specified source in the estate and not from the general assets
2 : a clause in a will disposing of property and especially real property
3 : property disposed of by a will

History and Etymology for devise

Transitive verb

Anglo-French deviser to divide, share, bequeath, ultimately from Latin dividere to divide

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on devise

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for devise

Spanish Central: Translation of devise

Nglish: Translation of devise for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of devise for Arabic Speakers

Comments on devise

What made you want to look up devise? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!