from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To form, plan, or arrange in the mind; design or contrive.
  • transitive verb Law To transmit or give (real property) by will.
  • transitive verb Archaic To suppose; imagine.
  • noun The act of transmitting or giving real property by will.
  • noun The property or lands so transmitted or given.
  • noun A will or clause in a will transmitting or giving real property.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun (dē˙-vīs′ ). An obsolete spelling of device.
  • noun In law: The act of bequeathing by will.
  • noun A will or testament.
  • noun A gift of real property by will: sometimes loosely used of personal property.
  • noun The clause in a will by which such gift is made.
  • To divide; distinguish.
  • To say; tell; relate; describe.
  • To imagine; conjecture; guess, or guess at.
  • To think or study out; elaborate in the mind; invent; contrive; plan: as, to devise a new machine, or a new method of doing anything; to devise a plan of defense; to devise schemes of plunder.
  • To plan or scheme for; purpose to obtain.
  • To give, assign, make over, or transmit (real property) by will.
  • Synonyms To concoct, concert.
  • To consider; lay a plan or plans; form a scheme or schemes; contrive.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To form a scheme; to lay a plan; to contrive; to consider.
  • transitive verb To form in the mind by new combinations of ideas, new applications of principles, or new arrangement of parts; to formulate by thought; to contrive; to excogitate; to invent; to plan; to scheme.
  • transitive verb To plan or scheme for; to purpose to obtain.
  • transitive verb obsolete To say; to relate; to describe.
  • transitive verb obsolete To imagine; to guess.
  • transitive verb (Law) To give by will; -- used of real estate; formerly, also, of chattels.
  • noun obsolete Device. See device.
  • noun The act of giving or disposing of real estate by will; -- sometimes improperly applied to a bequest of personal estate.
  • noun A will or testament, conveying real estate; the clause of a will making a gift of real property.
  • noun Property devised, or given by will.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To use one's intellect to plan or design (something).
  • verb transitive To leave (property) in a will.
  • noun the act of leaving real property in a will
  • noun such a will, or a clause in such a will
  • noun the real property left in such a will

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (law) a gift of real property by will
  • verb arrange by systematic planning and united effort
  • noun a will disposing of real property
  • verb give by will, especially real property
  • verb come up with (an idea, plan, explanation, theory, or principle) after a mental effort


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English devisen, from Old French deviser, from Vulgar Latin *dēvīsāre, from Latin *dīvīsāre, frequentative of dīvidere, to divide; see divide.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English devisen, devysen, from Latin devisare, frequentative of devidere.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word devise.


  • This devise is a little far fetched but allows the narrator to continue his long life of crime and McCabe to produce an unforgettable black work.

    Irish Psycho 2007

  • A gradation: "devise" is the conception of the evil purpose; "work" (Ps 58: 2), or "fabricate," the maturing of the scheme;

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible 1871

  • Some valid discoveries have been made, so it is probably better grounded than String Theory, which is still stuck in "devise some explanation to explain the data" mode.

    A Disclaimer for Behe? 2009

  • I've often wondered to what and how often this government approved devise is compared.

    Carry-Over Thread 2007

  • Where, midst the flowers, the finch's lay Shall welcome you with music gay; While you shall bid our antique tongue Some word devise, or air supply, Like those that charm'd your youth so long, And lent a spell to memory.

    Jasmin: Barber, Poet, Philanthropist Smiles, Samuel, 1812-1904 1891

  • With a wide range of jamming capabilities and easily wearable the devise is the size of a radio, the Storm-H extends protection to each individual soldier on tactical operations. Allison Barrie 2011

  • Google calls the devise "reminiscent of an ice cream cart."

    MPNnow Home RSS 2009

  • He has even helped his wife, who works at a Georgetown law firm, devise a kayak commuter route on heavy traffic days.

    Below The Beltway 2009

  • And as to taking by devise, that is a taking by purchase, as was adjudged by the Lords in the case of Bofper and (1)

    Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery, and of some special cases adjudged in the Court of King's Bench [1695-1735] 1790

  • He replied, “I know not; but thou art better able to judge, being acquainted with the ways of thy man, more by token that thou art one of the sharpest-witted of women and past mistress of devices such as devise that whereof fail the wise.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night 2006


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.