devil

noun
dev·​il | \ ˈde-vᵊl, dialectal ˈdi- \

Definition of devil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 often capitalized : the personal supreme spirit of evil often represented in Christian belief as the tempter of humankind, the leader of all apostate angels, and the ruler of hell usually used with the often used as an interjection, an intensive, or a generalized term of abuse what the devil is this?the devil you say!
2 : an evil spirit : demon
3a : an extremely wicked person : fiend
b archaic : a great evil
4 : a person of notable energy, recklessness, and dashing spirit also : one who is mischievous those kids are little devils today
5 : fellow usually used in the phrases poor devil, lucky devil
6a : something very trying or provoking having a devil of a time with this problem
b : severe criticism or rebuke : hell used with the I'll probably catch the devil for this
c : the difficult, deceptive, or problematic part of something the devil is in the details
8 Christian Science : the opposite of Truth : a belief in sin, sickness, and death : evil, error
between the devil and the deep blue sea
: faced with two equally objectionable alternatives
devil to pay
: severe consequences used with the there'll be the devil to pay if we're late

devil

verb
deviled or devilled; deviling or devilling\ ˈde-​və-​liŋ, ˈdev-​liŋ \

Definition of devil (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to season highly deviled eggs
2 : tease, annoy

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Examples of devil in a Sentence

Noun

She is a tricky devil, so be careful. Those kids can be little devils sometimes. He's such a lucky devil that he'll probably win the lottery someday.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But for me, Sabrina had to stand up to the Dark Lord, the devil, and these very formidable opponents and someone like Kiernan has the gravitas and the assuredness to be able to do that. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, ""Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Star Kiernan Shipka Almost Played This Character on "Riverdale"," 15 Oct. 2018 Make it past the what-the-devils and the milk-and-sugars and the characters will surprise you. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "Review: ‘Conflict’ Reaches Across the Decades and the Aisle," 2 July 2018 There were blue demons, red devils and Esparza himself — decked out in a garland of barking mechanical puppies — all in connection with his solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Essential Arts: A wild procession, a female 'Tempest' and music's new sounds of protest," 30 June 2018 At Switzerland’s museum dedicated to Eastern cultures, depictions of monsters, devils and demons by Indian, Japanese, Persian and Swiss artists come together to startle visitors this summer. Sarah Maiellano, USA TODAY, "The best museum exhibits in Europe this summer," 18 June 2018 For Trump, Pruitt is sort of like the angel and devil in the old cartoons that sit on his shoulders. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Scott Pruitt is everything Donald Trump loves in an underling. Also everything he hates.," 5 Apr. 2018 If there is room to criticize Swift’s play, that devil is in the details. Lily Herman, Teen Vogue, "Taylor Swift's Political Instagram Post Is a Sign of the Post–Brett Kavanaugh Times," 8 Oct. 2018 The devil, or the undead, or whatever, is in the details. Popular Mechanics, "How to Carve a Pumpkin Like a Pro," 31 Aug. 2018 If Windows Updates are going to rely on the brains of the cloud rather than the active consent of the user for reboots, the devil’s in the details. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "How Windows 10 will prevent updates from randomly rebooting your PC: machine learning," 26 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Over time the bar became a restaurant where regulars would return day after day for a table d'hôte menu that might include boiled beef, jambalaya and deviled eggs in spicy remoulade sauce. Todd A. Price, NOLA.com, "Do you remember Maylie's? A lost New Orleans restaurant," 9 May 2018 The current menu includes samosas, curried Scotch egg, saag paneer pizza, chutney deviled eggs and peanut chicken tikka among its pub bites. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "Queen Vic Pub to shutter mid-July," 6 July 2018 Buffalo deviled eggs, with Frank’s Hot Sauce and crumbled blue cheese. Ann Friedman, The Cut, "Not Everything Is a Side Hustle," 11 Jan. 2018 Top each deviled egg with a pickled shrimp and a sprig of fresh dill. Carrie Purcell, Country Living, "Deviled Eggs with Old Bay Shrimp," 4 Mar. 2014 Her deviled egg taco with beet greens salsa verde in a beet and corn tortilla is rightfully famous. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "10 women who are absolutely killing it at Indianapolis restaurants," 7 Mar. 2018 Stray from the classic and try making bacon cheddar deviled eggs. Katie Workman, Detroit Free Press, "Recipe: No one can resist the temptation of classic deviled eggs," 31 Mar. 2018 Bernie’s Lunch & Supper: Brunch specials include pimiento-cheese deviled eggs, Scotch egg in the hole, fried ham chop and chocolate pot de creme. Grace Wong, chicagotribune.com, "50-plus Easter brunch spots in Chicago and suburbs," 20 Mar. 2018 The version here, which Morton previously featured at Bookmakers, is cheeseburger deviled eggs. Tim Smith, baltimoresun.com, "Interesting menu, enjoyable view at Ampersea," 22 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of devil

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1787, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for devil

Noun

Middle English devel, from Old English dēofol, from Late Latin diabolus, from Greek diabolos, literally, slanderer, from diaballein to throw across, slander, from dia- + ballein to throw; probably akin to Sanskrit gurate he lifts up

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Statistics for devil

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for devil

The first known use of devil was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for devil

devil

noun

English Language Learners Definition of devil

the Devil : the most powerful spirit of evil in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam who is often represented as the ruler of hell

: an evil spirit

: a person who does bad things or causes trouble usually in a way that is not too serious

devil

noun
dev·​il | \ ˈde-vəl \

Kids Definition of devil

1 often capitalized : the most powerful spirit of evil
2 : an evil spirit : demon, fiend
3 : a wicked or cruel person
4 : an attractive, mischievous, or unfortunate person a handsome devil poor devils

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More from Merriam-Webster on devil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with devil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for devil

Spanish Central: Translation of devil

Nglish: Translation of devil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of devil for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about devil

Comments on devil

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