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

Melson said the study commission’s job is to help devise a plan that will allow those who need medical marijuana to receive it while keeping it out of the hands of others. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Panel considers if medical marijuana is right for Alabama," 13 Aug. 2019 The mayor will establish an executive committee of leaders from city departments, surrounding counties, METRO and the Texas Department of Transportation to devise the strategy by this time next year. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Mayor Turner adopts plan to eliminate traffic deaths by 2030," 13 Aug. 2019 Azeeza Khan knows how to work with high-profile clients: Earlier this year, the designer was tapped to devise bridal shower and engagement party looks for Kirsten Corley, the then-fiancée of Chance the Rapper. Marley Marius, Vogue, "Meet the Chicago-Based Designer Behind Barbra Streisand’s Show-Stopping Wardrobe," 2 Aug. 2019 The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission is studying the state’s labyrinthine system of doctors, hospitals, government agencies, and insurance companies to devise recommendations for slashing costs. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "State watchdog seeks to simplify complex health care system — and save money," 29 July 2019 The company said in 2017 that its initial goal was to devise brain interfaces to alleviate the symptoms of chronic medical conditions. Alex Johnson, NBC News, "Elon Musk wants to hook your brain directly up to computers — starting next year," 17 July 2019 Marine scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who explore Earth’s hydrothermal vents have been working with NASA to devise autonomous underwater vehicles that could work in both the bottom of our oceans and on Europa. Eric Niiler, WIRED, "Forget the Moon—We Should Go to Jupiter’s Idyllic Europa," 5 July 2019 The design visionary achieved a kind of creative mind-meld with company co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs to devise the minimalist, space-age look of transformative gadgets like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "Why it’s so dangerous when star employees check out," 2 July 2019 Fitch called for a task force of current congressional press secretaries to devise strategies to update constituent communication. Richard Skinner, Vox, "Technology and transparency: the path to a modern Congress?," 26 June 2019

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

18 Aug 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

to shake or wave menacingly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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!