devise

1 of 2

verb

de·​vise di-ˈvīz How to pronounce devise (audio)
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 will entry 2 sense 1) compare bequeath
devisable adjective
deviser noun

devise

2 of 2

noun

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

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Did you know?

There's something inventive about devise, a word that stems from Latin dividere, meaning "to divide." By the time devise began being used in early Middle English, its Anglo-French forebear deviser had accumulated an array of senses, including "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, such as "imagine," "guess," "pretend," and "describe." In modern use, we've disposed of a lot of the old meanings, but we have kept the one that applies to wills; devise has traditionally referred to the transfer of real property (land), and bequeath to personal property. These days, this devise is most often recognized as applying generally to all the property in a person's estate.

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Example Sentences

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
The moves by the players were widely expected but still bruised the PGA Tour, which has spent months trying to devise ways to keep players in its establishment fold. BostonGlobe.com, 30 Aug. 2022 To detect the spread of monkeypox to new animal species, virologists may have to devise an equivalent of the wastewater sampling set up to detect SARS-CoV-2. Wired, 5 Aug. 2022 There is much to consider when trying to devise a plan for this. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 The trackers also had to devise special gear to cope with the hornet's longer stinger and more toxic venom. Alicia Ault, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 July 2022 Apple will already have to devise a solution to comply with the EU's upcoming requirement. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 29 June 2022 Facing the biggest foreign policy crisis of his presidency, he is hardly consumed with the looming midterm elections, let alone trying to devise a catchy slogan. New York Times, 12 Mar. 2022 Across the nation, various utility companies are trying to devise ways to recoup their financial losses caused by record-high prices they were forced to pay for energy during the Texas emergency. Dave Lieber, Dallas News, 29 Apr. 2021 In the larger picture, the decision drives home the urgent need to devise realistic strategies to put this brazenly activist court on the political defensive, starting now and persisting into the foreseeable future. Simon Lazarus, The New Republic, 3 July 2022
Noun
In a statement Friday, the IS-K said the explosive devise that devastated Mazar-e-Sharif's Sai Doken mosque was hidden in a bag left inside among scores of worshippers. Kathy Gannon And Mohammad Shaob Amin, USA TODAY, 22 Apr. 2022 When the pandemic required the district to implement remote learning in March of last year, the district was forced to assure all students were issued an electronic devise. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, 22 Dec. 2021 This is often a preferable arrangement if the couple's intent is for the surviving partner to have complete ownership of the home since this transfer is automatic by operation of law and not dependent upon a devise under a will. Matthew Erskine, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 Ally expects to surface in some of the content that creators who take part in the program devise. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 16 Oct. 2021 Grogan, over his two decades as CEO, figured out the nonprofit could drive change by combining the power of research on critical topics such as affordable housing and education reform with its ability to convene stakeholders and devise solutions. BostonGlobe.com, 13 July 2021 Some fear China could use such data to give its drug industry an economic advantage, devise bioweapons tailored to Americans’ genetics, or even blackmail people by threatening to publicize private information. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, 14 June 2021 So Fuer had a millworker devise custom red covers, which connect to a red bookcase tucked between the room’s two windows. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, 1 Apr. 2021 The group has been working with Teen Vogue editors to firm up their collections and devise plans that are pandemic-proof. Vogue Runway, Vogue, 23 Oct. 2020 See More

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.

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Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Dictionary Entries Near devise

Cite this Entry

“Devise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/devise. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022.

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Kids Definition

devise

verb

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

Legal Definition

devise 1 of 2

transitive verb

de·​vise di-ˈvīz How to pronounce devise (audio)
devised; devising
: to give (property) by will
specifically : to give (real property) by will compare alienate, bequeath, convey

devise

2 of 2

noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on devise

Last Updated: 29 Sep 2022

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