devil: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (dev'ul), [key]
— n., v., -iled, -il•ing -illed, -il•ling.
    1. (sometimes cap.) the supreme spirit of evil; Satan.
    2. a subordinate evil spirit at enmity with God, and having power to afflict humans both with bodily disease and with spiritual corruption.
  1. an atrociously wicked, cruel, or ill-tempered person.
  2. a person who is very clever, energetic, reckless, or mischievous.
  3. a person, usually one in unfortunate or pitiable circumstances: The poor devil kept losing jobs through no fault of his own.
  4. Also calleda young worker below the level of apprentice in a printing office.
  5. any of various mechanical devices, as a machine for tearing rags, a machine for manufacturing wooden screws, etc.
  6. (in deck or hull planking) any of various seams difficult to caulk because of form or position.
  7. any of various portable furnaces or braziers used in construction and foundry work.
  8. between two undesirable alternatives; in an unpleasant dilemma.
  9. extremely difficult or annoying; hellish: I had a devil of a time getting home through the snow.
  10. to give deserved credit even to a person one dislikes: To give the devil his due, you must admit that she is an excellent psychologist.
    1. to fail completely; lose all hope or chance of succeeding.
    2. to become depraved.
    3. (an expletive expressing annoyance, disgust, impatience, etc.)
  11. to leave the least able or fortunate persons to suffer adverse consequences; leave behind or to one's fate: They ran from the pursuing mob and let the devil take the hindmost.
  12. to ruin completely; spoil: The financial crisis played the devil with our investment plans.
    1. to cause a commotion or disturbance.
    2. to celebrate wildly; revel.
    3. to make an emphatic protest or take drastic measures.
  13. (used as an emphatic expletive or mild oath to express disgust, anger, astonishment, negation, etc.): What the devil do you mean by that?
  14. trouble to be faced; mischief in the offing: If conditions don't improve, there will be the devil to pay.
  1. to annoy; harass; pester: to devil Mom and Dad for a new car.
  2. to tear (rags, cloth, etc.) with a devil.
  3. to prepare (food, usually minced) with hot or savory seasoning: to devil eggs.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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