• WordNet 3.6
    • adj devilish showing the cunning or ingenuity or wickedness typical of a devil "devilish schemes","the cold calculation and diabolic art of some statesmen","the diabolical expression on his face","a mephistophelian glint in his eye"
    • adj devilish playful in an appealingly bold way "a roguish grin"
    • adv devilish in a playfully devilish manner "the socialists are further handicapped if they believe that capitalists are not only wicked but also devilishly clever"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: STASI, the East German secret police organization, devised a devilishly clever way to prevent someone from giving them the slip during the Cold War: they managed to synthesize the scent of a female dog in heat, which they applied to the shoes of the person under surveillance. Then they simply had a male dog follow the scent.
    • Devilish Extreme; excessive.
    • Devilish Resembling, characteristic of, or pertaining to, the devil; diabolical; wicked in the extreme. "Devilish wickedness.""This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish ."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • devilish Characteristic of the devil; befitting the devil, or a devil or demon; diabolical; malignant: as, a devilish scheme; devilish conduct.
    • devilish Extreme; enormous.
    • devilish Synonyms Satanic, infernal, hellish, impious, wicked, atrocious, nefarious.
    • devilish Excessively; enormously.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Devilish fiendish, malignant
    • ***


  • Proverb
    “The wrath of brothers is fierce and devilish.”
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
    “The devil's most devilish when respectable.”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. deóful, deófol—L. diabolus—Gr. diabolos, from diaballein, to throw across, to slander, from dia, across, and ballein, to throw; cf. Ger. teufel, Fr. diable, It. diavolo, Sp. diablo.


In literature:

Here we are now, a devilish sight too near this infernal point.
"Peter Simple" by Frederick Marryat
It's all devilish interesting.
"The Trail of '98" by Robert W. Service
And his mind was devilishly clever enough to captivate my fancy.
"Possessed" by Cleveland Moffett
You're a devilish thief, Craig.
"Joan of Arc of the North Woods" by Holman Day
He was thinking out some further devilish plot.
"The Minister of Evil" by William Le Queux
Must be devilish unpleasant shadowing a man in cold weather.
"The Pirate of Panama" by William MacLeod Raine
The rack, the thumbscrew, the tomahawk, the fagot belong among these devilish instruments.
"The Blot on the Kaiser's 'Scutcheon" by Newell Dwight Hillis
He has supernatural power, that is, devilishly supernatural.
"Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation" by S. D. Gordon
Excuse me if I hurt you, but you are so devilish strong.
"Rookwood" by William Harrison Ainsworth
For when the respectable Londoner wants to feel devilish he goes to Soho, where every street is a song.
"Nights in London" by Thomas Burke

In poetry:

She'd called around the winged winds,
And raised a devilish rout;
And she laugh'd so loud, the peals were heard
Full fifteen leagues about.
"Gondoline" by Henry Kirke White
"Nor fully to gaine mine owne trewe shape,
Such was her devilish skille,
Until he wolde yielde to be rul'd by mee,
And let mee have all my wille.
"The Marriage of Sir Gawaine" by Anonymous British
Have brooded for years Thy fair image to slay
And lying and spying hath longed for "The Day?"
We cannot say why! 'Tis beyond human ken
To fathom the ways of such devilish men.
"Hail to Lochiel And Lovat" by Angus Cameron Robertson
’Tis vain—the sacred wish is vain!
Men but renew the strifes of old:
But value with a greed insane
All devilish skill,
All splendid ill
That fetters Truth with chains of gold!
"Finality" by Charles Harpur
A word, a glance! Why, the whole frozen statue
Warmed into life. Surely it was not you.
You must have bribed some angel with false prayers
To wear your semblance--nay, no angel served,
But devilish witchcraft--
"The Spagnoletto. Act II" by Emma Lazarus
As sure as the world goes on, there'll come a time when she
Will read the devilish heart of that han'somer man than me;
And there'll be a time when he will find, as others do,
That she who is false to one can be the same with two.
"Gone With A Handsomer Man" by William McKendree Carleton

In news:

TO his clients, he was the devilishly clever mastermind behind wildly successful advertising campaigns.
To his critics, he was devilish all right -- as in fiendishly manipulative.
Al Pacino and Danny Ocean's crew of devilishly cool criminals took in roughly $37 M. With Ocean's 13 —about the same as 11 and 12.
Quantum mechanics is one of the most devilishly confusing theories ever devised.
Roy and John Lin made a devilish fortune in the details of phone bills, according to a federal investigation.
Every taste of this devilish dessert starts refreshingly sweet and cool--and ends with a spark of habanero heat.
A CDC spokesperson says that these devilish, killer amoebas thrive in warm water.
For a town nicknamed the "Holy City," we certainly love the devilishly frightful holiday of Halloween.
Game Dork — Deliciously devilish 'Hitman' should not be played by budding psychopaths.
Encouragement and pride in a cold, devilish spot.
For many of us, credit cards have been a saving grace in times of need and a devilish temptress in times of greed.
Then he moves onto the smile inducing … Devilish delight that is Dark Shadows.
Game Dork — Deliciously devilish ' Hitman ' should not be played by budding psychopaths.
World-wide fires, global warming, and a devilish look at the second law of thermo-dynamics.
Emerging freshly scrubbed from the bathroom one recent morning, I found Art Boy with a more devilish smile than usual.

In science:

However, other combinations of measurements would devilishly hide this fact.
Future probes of the origin of CP violation