1

devise

verb de·vise \ di-ˈvīz \
Updated on: 21 Nov 2017

Definition of devise

devised; devising
transitive verb
1 a : 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 2will 1) — compare bequeath

devisable

play \-ˈvī-zə-bəl\ adjective

deviser

noun

devise was our Word of the Day on 11/14/2014. Hear the podcast!

Examples of devise in a Sentence

  1. They have devised a new method for converting sunlight into electricity.

  2. she quickly devised a new scheme when the first one failed

Recent Examples of devise from the Web

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.

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of devise

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


2

devise

noun

Definition of devise

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

Recent Examples of devise from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of devise


DEVISE Defined for English Language Learners

devise

verb

Definition of devise for English Language Learners

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


DEVISE Defined for Kids

devise

verb de·vise \ di-ˈvīz \

Definition of devise for Students

devised; devising
: to think up : plan, invent
  • We devised a plan to win.

Law Dictionary

1

devise

transitive verb de·vise \ di-ˈvīz \

legal Definition of devise

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

devisable

adjective

devisor

play \ˌde-və-ˈzȯr; di-ˈvī-ˌzȯr, -zər\ noun

Origin and Etymology of devise

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


2

devise

noun

legal Definition of devise

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


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