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

  • noun In many religions, the major personified spirit of evil, ruler of Hell, and foe of God. Used with the.
  • noun A subordinate evil spirit; a demon.
  • noun A wicked or malevolent person.
  • noun A person.
  • noun An energetic, mischievous, daring, or clever person.
  • noun Printing A printer's devil.
  • noun A device or machine, especially one having teeth or spikes and used for tearing.
  • noun An outstanding example, especially of something difficult or bad.
  • noun A severe reprimand or expression of anger.
  • noun Informal Used as an intensive.
  • transitive verb To season (food) heavily.
  • transitive verb To annoy, torment, or harass.
  • transitive verb To tear up (cloth or rags) in a toothed machine.
  • idiom (between the devil and the deep blue sea) Between two equally unacceptable choices.
  • idiom (full of the devil) Very energetic, mischievous, daring, or clever.
  • idiom (give the devil his due) To give credit to a disagreeable or malevolent person.
  • idiom (go to the devil) To be unsuccessful; fail.
  • idiom (go to the devil) To become depraved.
  • idiom (go to the devil) Used in the imperative to express anger or impatience.
  • idiom (play the devil with) To upset or ruin.
  • idiom (the devil take the hindmost) Let each person follow self-interest, leaving others to fare as they may.
  • idiom (the devil to pay) Trouble to be faced as a result of an action.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun A false accuser; a traducer or slanderer.
  • noun [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.]
  • noun In Christian theology, a powerful spirit of evil, otherwise called Satan (the adversary or opposer): with the definite article, and always in the singular.
  • noun [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.
  • noun A false god; an idol.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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).
  • noun 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.
  • noun Before the indefinite article with a noun, an emphatic negative: as, devil a bit (not a bit). Compare fiend, Scotch fient, in similar use.
  • noun An errand-boy in a printing-office. See printer's devil, below.
  • noun A name of several instruments or mechanical contrivances.
  • noun Among jewelers, a bunch of matted wire on which the parts ot lockets are placed for soldering.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The Venus's-comb, Scandix Pecten, from the long tapering beaks of the fruit.
  • noun 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.)
  • noun A junior counsel who assists his superior, usually without financial reward.
  • noun In mathematics, a curve whose equation is y — x + ay + bx = o.
  • noun A ‘literary’ or professional ‘hack’; one who does professional work for another who gets all the credit.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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).
  • noun A highly seasoned dish of crabs, chicken, eggs, or the like, cooked together.
  • noun The wheel-bug. Also called the devil's riding-horse.
  • noun The American or Virginia virgin's-bower, Clematis Virginiana, so named from its gossamer-like fruit.
  • To make devilish, or like a devil.
  • In cookery, to season highly with mustard, pepper, etc., and broil.
  • To bother; torment.


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

Middle English devel, from Old English dēofol, from Latin diabolus, from Late Greek diabolos, from Greek, slanderer, from diaballein, to slander : dia-, dia- + ballein, to hurl; see gwelə- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English dēofol, from Ancient Greek διάβολος (diabolos, "accuser, slanderer"), also as "Satan" (in Jewish/Christian usage, translating Biblical Hebrew שטן, satán), from διαβάλλω (diaballō, "to slander"), literally “to throw across”, from διά (dia, "through, across") + βάλλω (ballō, "throw"). The Old English word was probably adopted under influence of Latin diabolus (itself from the Greek). Other Germanic languages adopted the word independently: compare Dutch duivel, Low German düvel, German Teufel, Swedish djävul (older: djefvul, Old Swedish diævul, Old Norse djǫfull).



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  • Citation (as verb) on kooch show.

    June 30, 2012

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