• WordNet 3.6
    • v devil coat or stuff with a spicy paste "devilled eggs"
    • v devil cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations "Mosquitoes buzzing in my ear really bothers me","It irritates me that she never closes the door after she leaves"
    • n devil a word used in exclamations of confusion "what the devil","the deuce with it","the dickens you say"
    • n devil an evil supernatural being
    • n Devil (Judeo-Christian and Islamic religions) chief spirit of evil and adversary of God; tempter of mankind; master of Hell
    • n devil a rowdy or mischievous person (usually a young man) "he chased the young hellions out of his yard"
    • n devil a cruel wicked and inhuman person
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

The Devil's Jumps, beyond Frensham Pond The Devil's Jumps, beyond Frensham Pond
The Devil's Jumps, from Frensham Common The Devil's Jumps, from Frensham Common
The Devil's Punch Bowl, from Gibbet Hill The Devil's Punch Bowl, from Gibbet Hill
Seeing the Poor Devils Who Had Gone Broke 166 Seeing the Poor Devils Who Had Gone Broke 166
And So This is the Champion Little Devil of America 357 And So This is the Champion Little Devil of America 357
The Chamber is Already Full of Devils--3-23-294 The Chamber is Already Full of Devils--3-23-294
The Devil Came to the Place--4-48-496 The Devil Came to the Place--4-48-496

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In Australia, a dust-devil is called a "willy-willy
    • Devil (Cookery) A dish, as a bone with the meat, broiled and excessively peppered; a grill with Cayenne pepper. "Men and women busy in baking, broiling, roasting oysters, and preparing devils on the gridiron."
    • Devil (Manuf) A machine for tearing or cutting rags, cotton, etc.
    • Devil A very wicked person; hence, any great evil. "That devil Glendower.""The devil drunkenness.""Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil ?"
    • Devil An evil spirit; a demon. "A dumb man possessed with a devil ."
    • Devil An expletive of surprise, vexation, or emphasis, or, ironically, of negation. "The devil a puritan that he is, . . . but a timepleaser.""The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare,
      But wonder how the devil they got there."
    • Devil The Evil One; Satan, represented as the tempter and spiritual of mankind. "Jesus] being forty days tempted of the devil .""That old serpent, called the Devil , and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world."
    • devil To grill with Cayenne pepper; to season highly in cooking, as with pepper. "A deviled leg of turkey."
    • devil To make like a devil; to invest with the character of a devil.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Spiral staircases in medieval castles are running clockwise. This is because all knights used to be right-handed. When the intruding army would climb the stairs they would not be able to use their right hand which was holding the sword because of the difficulties of climbing the stairs. Left-handed knights would have had no troubles, except left-handed people could never become knights because it was assumed that they were descendants of the devil
    • n devil A false accuser; a traducer or slanderer.
    • n devil [This use of the original term διάβολος occurs several times in the New Testament (1 Tim. iii. 11; 2 Tim. iii. 3; Tit. ii. 3), but this is the only instance in which, when so used, it is rendered devil in the English versions.]
    • n devil In Christian theology, a powerful spirit of evil, otherwise called Satan (the adversary or opposer): with the definite article, and always in the singular. He is frequently referred to as the Evil One, the prince of the powers of the air, the prince of darkness, Beelzebub, Belial, the tempter, the old serpent, the dragon, etc. He is represented in the New Testament as a person, the enemy of God and of holiness, and bent on the ruin of man, but possessing only limited power, subordinate to God, able to operate only in such ways as God permits, and capable of being made subservient to God's will. In this respect he differs from Ahriman, the evil principle in the dualistic system of the Persians, who was coeval and coördinate with Ormuzd, the spirit of light and goodness, and from the devil of the Gnostic and Manichean systems. The medieval conception of the devil was largely derived from pagan mythology.
    • n devil [Used in the English versions of the New Testament to translate the Greek δαιμόνιον and δαίμων, a spirit or demon: see demon.] A subordinate evil spirit at enmity with God, and having power to afflict man both with bodily disease and with spiritual corruption; one of the malignant spirits employed by Satan as his agents in his work of evil; a demon. See demoniacal.
    • n devil A false god; an idol. [In the authorized version of the Old Testament the word devil occurs four times: twice (Lev. xvii. 7; 2 Chron. xi. 15) translating Hebrew sairim, rendered in the revised version “he-goats” or “satyrs,” and twice (Deut. xxxii. 17; Ps. cvi. 37) translating Hebrew shedim, rendered “demons” in the revised version. In the New Testament δαιμόνιον, or demon, is in one instance (see extract) rendered “devil,” in the sense of an object of gentile worship, an idol, a false god.]
    • n devil A person resembling a devil or demon in character; a malignantly wicked or cruel person; a fierce or fiendish person: often used with merely expletive or exaggerative force: as, he's the very devil for reckless dash.
    • n devil A fellow; a rogue: used generally with an epithet (little, poor, etc.), and expressing slight contempt or pity: as, a shrewd little devil; a poor devil (an unfortunate fellow).
    • n devil As an expletive: The deuce: now always with the article the, but formerly sometimes with the article a, or used absolutely, preceding a sentence or phrase, and serving, like deuce and other words of related import, as an ejaculation expressing sudden emotion, as surprise, wonder, vexation, or disgust.
    • n devil Before the indefinite article with a noun, an emphatic negative: as, devil a bit (not a bit). Compare fiend, Scotch fient, in similar use.
    • n devil An errand-boy in a printing-office. See printer's devil, below.
    • n devil A name of several instruments or mechanical contrivances. A machine for forming flocks of wool into a more uniform mass, and at the same time removing the mechanical impurities. Also called willower, willy.
    • n devil Among jewelers, a bunch of matted wire on which the parts ot lockets are placed for soldering.
    • n devil Nautical, the seam of a ship which margins the waterways: so called from its awkwardness of access in calking. Hence the phrase the devil to pay, etc. See below.
    • n devil The Venus's-comb, Scandix Pecten, from the long tapering beaks of the fruit.
    • n devil over which, when first finished, the devil is supposed to have looked with a fierce and terrific countenance, as incensed and alarmed at this costly instance of devotion. Ray thinks it more probable that it took its rise from a small image of the devil placed on the top of Lincoln College, Oxford, over which he looks, seemingly with much fury.” (Grose, Local Proverbs.)
    • devil To make devilish, or like a devil.
    • devil In cookery, to season highly with mustard, pepper, etc., and broil.
    • devil To bother; torment.
    • devil To cut up, as cloth or rags, by means of a machine called a devil.
    • n devil A junior counsel who assists his superior, usually without financial reward.
    • n devil In mathematics, a curve whose equation is y — x + ay + bx = o.
    • n devil A ‘literary’ or professional ‘hack’; one who does professional work for another who gets all the credit.
    • n devil Gunpowder moistened with water or alcohol so as to destroy the granulation and form a paste: used as a sort of firework by boys, and as a priming or fuse.
    • n devil A moving whirlwind carrying up columns of sand, such as are common in India, Persia, and countries having dry seasons: sometimes called dancing-devil or desert devil, and known in upper India by the local name bagoola (Hind. bagū la).
    • n devil A highly seasoned dish of crabs, chicken, eggs, or the like, cooked together.
    • n devil The wheel-bug. Also called the devil's riding-horse.
    • n devil The American or Virginia virgin's-bower, Clematis Virginiana, so named from its gossamer-like fruit.
    • devil To do professional work (literary or legal) for another who receives all the credit, and sometimes also the remuneration or fee; act as a literary or legal devil.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The term "devil's advocate" comes from the Roman Catholic Church. When deciding if someone should be sainted, a devil's advocate is always appointed to give an alternative view.
    • v.t Devil dev′l (cook.) to season highly and broil
    • v.i Devil to perform another man's drudgery (esp. to devil for a barrister)
    • n Devil dev′l the supreme spirit of evil, Satan: any evil spirit: a false god: a very wicked person: a fellow, as in 'Poor devil:' an expletive, in 'What the devil,' &c
    • adv Devil (coll.) very: exceedingly
    • ***


  • Robert E. Lee
    “The devil's name is dullness.”
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning
    “The devil's most devilish when respectable.”
  • Thomas Carlyle
    “The devil has his elect.”
  • Vance Havner
    “The devil will let a preacher prepare a sermon if it will keep him from preparing himself.”
  • Rowland Hill
    Rowland Hill
    “Why should the devil have all the good tunes?”
  • Sir Roger L'Estrange
    Sir Roger L'Estrange
    “The devil helps his servants for a season; but when they get into a pinch; he leaves them in the lurch.”


Better the devil you know - This is the shortened form of the full idiom, 'better the devil you know than the devil you don't', and means that it is often better to deal with someone or something you are familiar with and know, even if they are not ideal, than take a risk with an unknown person or thing.
Between the devil and the deep blue sea - If you are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, you are in a dilemma; a difficult choice.
Devil finds work for idle hands - When people say that the devil finds work for idle hands, they mean that if people don't have anything to do with their time, they are more likely to get involved in trouble and criminality.
Devil is in the detail - When people say that the devil in the detail, they mean that small things in plans and schemes that are often overlooked can cause serious problems later on.
Devil may care - If you live a devil-may-care life it means you are willing to take more risks than most people.
Devil's advocate - If someone plays Devil's advocate in an argument, they adopt a position they don't believe in just for the sake of the argument
Idle hands are the devil's handiwork - When someone is not busy, or being productive, trouble is bound to follow.
If you lie down with the Devil, you will wake up in hell - This means that if you become involved with bad company, there will be negative consequences.
Let the devil take the hindmost - This idiom means that you should think of yourself and not be concerned about other people; look after yourself and let the devil take the hindmost.
Speak of the devil! - If you are talking about someone and they happen to walk in, you can use this idiom as a way of letting them know you were talking about them.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
AS. deófol, deóful,; akin to G. eufel, Goth. diabaúlus,; all fr. L. diabolus, the devil, Gr. the devil, the slanderer, fr. to slander, calumniate, orig., to throw across; across + to throw, let fall, fall; cf. Skr. gal, to fall. Cf. Diabolic


In literature:

Did not Simon the magician rise into the air by means of the devil?
"The Phantom World" by Augustin Calmet
After that Belle drove the "he-devils" and others quite as devilish, and risked her bones with perfect equanimity.
"Rim o' the World" by B. M. Bower
The devil with the rifle got a line on me down the hill a short time ago.
"The Spoilers of the Valley" by Robert Watson
Say, it's a devil's region, an' everything to it belongs to the devil.
"The Golden Woman" by Ridgwell Cullum
And so the old man had ridden as though the devil were after him.
"Dwellers in the Hills" by Melville Davisson Post
I thought none but the Devil himself could equal me for inward wickedness and pollution.
"Bunyan" by James Anthony Froude
Here's to the devil, because there's no God and the devil reigns.
"The One-Way Trail" by Ridgwell Cullum
Damn it, I actually feel sorry for the poor devils it bursts on!
"Astounding Stories, February, 1931" by Various
The only devil in this story is the devil of fearful ignorance and misbelief in Brother Martin.
"Flowers of Freethought" by George W. Foote
They believed that animals were often taken possession of by devils, and that the killing of the animal would destroy the devil.
"The Ghosts" by Robert G. Ingersoll

In poetry:

One month in the slums,
And I am sad,
So sad
I seem devil-possessed,
Or mad.
"Shinkawa" by Toyohiko Kagawa
Men, said the Devil,
are good to their brothers:
they don’t want to mend
their own ways, but each others.
"Mankind" by Piet Hein
Wine and rank poison, milk and blood,
Being mixed therein
Since first the devil threw dice with God
For you, Faustine.
"Faustine" by Algernon Charles Swinburne
That night the whole world mingled,
The souls were babes at play,
And angel danced with devil.
And God cried, 'Holiday!'
"A Certain Evening" by Gilbert Keith Chesterton
She wrote of Mercy: 'She was loth
Too hard to goad a foe.'
He stamped, as when men drive an oath
Devils transcribe below.
"Archduchess Anne" by George Meredith
For lo, as if the taint of hell
Were in the moorland calm,
There rises up with shout and oath
The devil's godless psalm—
"Cameron's Stone" by Alexander Anderson

In news:

Even when they play well, the bounces go against the Devils.
Indiana Jones comes to Blu-ray in full, two classics of poetic realism, Keanu Reeves in the employ of the Devil, and more.
I have stood to be corrected lately when I said the devil is on the loose.
What I have come to see is the devil has been on the loose.
Mudslinging for fun at 'Dirty Devil Dog Mud Run'.
More than 500 mud-runners took part in Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany "Dirty Devil Dog Run" Saturday.
MCLB to host 'Dirty Devil Dog Mud Run.
The general public is invited to Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany for its first "Dirty Devil Dog Mud Run," set for 10 am on Nov 17 at the base's Boyett Park.
From left, Blue Devils coach Ed Honabarger joins seniors Josh Bratton, Bryce Staats and Jamarcus Hershberger after they apply Domestic Violence Awareness stickers to their helmets.
DEVIL DOG Click to enlarge.
The weather looks to be perfect for the 19th annual Devil Dog Run, scheduled for Saturday, September 15 at the New Post chapel.
Devil May Care 's owner believes there may be magic in her gate position.
Popular local playwright Scott Phillips has written his sixth production, " Devil May Care ," and it will debut at the Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs next weekend.
Devil May Care Loses Battle With Cancer.
Devil May Care Takes Mother Goose.

In science:

Non-smooth structures open a Pandora box of very strange objects like the Devil’s staircase .
LHC card games: bringing about retrocausality?
Devil’s staircase implies a possibility for a particle to advance forward with a continuous constant velocity which is zero nearly everywhere! Nevertheless, such Cantor functions are not merely pathological oddities as they appear naturally in various areas of mathematics and mathematical physics.
LHC card games: bringing about retrocausality?
Available: the day: The devil lurks in the details. [Online].
Storage Size Determination for Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems
After we choose the center Pi ∈ Ci ⊂ Sing(Ri ) ⊂ Wi πi+1←− Wi+1 to extend the resolution sequence, the and take the transformation Wi “devil” chooses a closed point Pi+1 ∈ π−1 (Pi ) ⊂ Wi .
Resolution of singularities of an idealistic filtration in dimension 3 after Benito-Villamayor
Note that in the classical limit of zero hopping the long-range model exhibits a devil’s staircase (see Refs. [168, 169] for 1D) of various solid phases.
Recent developments in Quantum Monte-Carlo simulations with applications for cold gases