Definitions

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

  • noun A contrivance or invention serving a particular purpose, especially a machine used to perform one or more relatively simple tasks.
  • noun A literary contrivance, such as parallelism or personification, used to achieve a particular effect.
  • noun A decorative design, figure, or pattern, as one used in embroidery. synonym: figure.
  • noun A graphic symbol or motto, especially in heraldry.
  • noun A plan or scheme for accomplishing something.
  • idiom (leave to (one's) own devices) To allow (someone) to do as he or she pleases.
  • idiom (leave to (one's) own devices) To force (someone) to cope or manage without assistance.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Disposition; desire; will; pleasure.
  • noun Opinion; view.
  • noun The act or state of devising or inventing; invention; inventiveness; a contriving.
  • noun An invention or a contrivance; something devised or fitted for a particular use or purpose, especially something of a simple character or of little complexity: as, a device for checking motion.
  • noun A scheme or plan; something devised or studied out for promoting an end; specifically, something contrived for an evil or a selfish purpose; a wrongful project, stratagem, or trick.
  • noun Something fancifully designed, as a picture, a, pattern, a piece of embroidery, the cut or ornament of a garment, etc.
  • noun The representation of some object, group of objects, or scene, generally accompanied by a motto or other legend, and used as an expression of the bearer's aspirations or principles.
  • noun The motto attached to or suited for such an emblem.
  • noun A spectacle; a show.
  • noun Synonyms Contrivance, Shift, etc. (see expedient, n.; see also artifice), wile, ruse, manœuver, trick.
  • noun Design, symbol.

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

  • noun That which is devised, or formed by design; a contrivance; an invention; a project; a scheme; often, a scheme to deceive; a stratagem; an artifice.
  • noun Power of devising; invention; contrivance.
  • noun An emblematic design, generally consisting of one or more figures with a motto, used apart from heraldic bearings to denote the historical situation, the ambition, or the desire of the person adopting it. See Cognizance.
  • noun Improperly, an heraldic bearing.
  • noun Anything fancifully conceived.
  • noun obsolete A spectacle or show.
  • noun obsolete Opinion; decision.
  • noun any artifactual object designed to perform an action or process, with or without an operator in attendance.

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

  • noun Any piece of equipment made for a particular purpose, especially a mechanical or electrical one.
  • noun A project or scheme, often designed to deceive; a stratagem; an artifice.
  • noun rhetoric A technique that an author or speaker uses to evoke an emotional response in the audience; a rhetorical device.
  • noun ​(heraldry) A motto, emblem, or other mark used to distinguish the bearer from others. A device differs from a badge or cognizance primarily because as it is a personal distinction, and not a badge borne by members of the same house successively.
  • noun archaic Power of devising; invention; contrivance.
  • noun law An image used in whole or in part as a trademark or service mark.
  • noun printing An image or logo denoting official or proprietary authority or provenience.
  • noun obsolete A spectacle or show.
  • noun obsolete Opinion; decision.

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

  • noun an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose
  • noun any clever maneuver
  • noun something in an artistic work designed to achieve a particular effect
  • noun any ornamental pattern or design (as in embroidery)
  • noun an emblematic design (especially in heraldry)

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French devis, division, wish, and Old French devise, design, both from Latin dīvīsus, dīvīsa, past participle of dīvidere, to divide, separate; see divide.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old French devis, from Latin divisus, past participle of dividere ("to divide"), thus originally, when goods were being divided among people, a mark put on each item to say who was getting what.

Examples

Comments

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  • In rare/antique books, a printer's ornament or a publisher's identifying mark, usually on the copyright page of a book. Sometimes used interchangeably with colophon.

    February 22, 2007