1 : deviating from a straight line : roundabout
2 : behaving wrongly : errant
3 : tricky, cunning; also : deceptive
Our guide took us by a devious route to the center of the city.
"Former Congresswoman Jane Harman's resignation shortly after winning reelection in November 2010 struck many as a typically devious move on her part." - From an article by Paul Rosenberg in Random Lengths, January 12, 2012
Did You Know?
If you think someone devious has lost their way, you're right, etymologically speaking - the word derives from the Latin adjective "devius," itself formed from the prefix "de-" ("from" or "away") and the noun "via" ("way"). When "devious" was first used in the late 16th century, it implied a literal wandering off the "way," suggesting something that meandered or had no fixed course (as in "a devious route" or "devious breezes"). Relatively quickly, however, the word came to suggest someone or something that had metaphorically rather than literally left the "right path" or to deceitful (rather than "straight"-forward) behavior.
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
What synonym of "devious" rhymes with "dreaming"? The answer is ...
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