Definition of Devil
Dev"il (?), n. [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.] 1. The Evil One; Satan,
represented as the tempter and spiritual of mankind.
[Jesus] being forty days tempted of the
devil. Luke iv. 2.
That old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan,
which deceiveth the whole world. Rev. xii. 9.
2. An evil spirit; a demon.
A dumb man possessed with a devil.
Matt. ix. 32.
3. A very wicked person; hence, any great
evil. "That devil Glendower." "The devil
Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a
devil? John vi. 70.
4. An expletive of surprise, vexation, or
emphasis, or, ironically, of negation. [Low]
The devil a puritan that he is, . . . but a
The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare,
But wonder how the devil they got there.
5. (Cookery) A dish, as a bone with
the meat, broiled and excessively peppered; a grill with Cayenne
Men and women busy in baking, broiling, roasting
oysters, and preparing devils on the gridiron.
Sir W. Scott.
6. (Manuf.) A machine for tearing or
cutting rags, cotton, etc.
Blue devils. See under Blue. --
Cartesian devil. See under
Cartesian. -- Devil bird
(Zoöl.), one of two or more South African drongo
shrikes (Edolius retifer, and E. remifer), believed by
the natives to be connected with sorcery. -- Devil may
care, reckless, defiant of authority; -- used
adjectively. Longfellow. -- Devil's
apron (Bot.), the large kelp (Laminaria
saccharina, and L. longicruris) of the Atlantic ocean,
having a blackish, leathery expansion, shaped somewhat like an
apron. -- Devil's coachhorse.
(Zoöl.) (a) The black rove beetle
(Ocypus olens). [Eng.] (b) A large,
predacious, hemipterous insect (Prionotus cristatus); the
wheel bug. [U.S.] -- Devil's darning-needle.
(Zoöl.) See under Darn, v.
t. -- Devil's fingers,
Devil's hand (Zoöl.), the common
British starfish (Asterias rubens); -- also applied to a
sponge with stout branches. [Prov. Eng., Irish & Scot.] --
Devil's riding-horse (Zoöl.), the
American mantis (Mantis Carolina). -- The Devil's
tattoo, a drumming with the fingers or feet. "Jack
played the Devil's tattoo on the door with his boot heels."
F. Hardman (Blackw. Mag.). -- Devil worship,
worship of the power of evil; -- still practiced by barbarians
who believe that the good and evil forces of nature are of equal
power. -- Printer's devil, the youngest
apprentice in a printing office, who runs on errands, does dirty work
(as washing the ink rollers and sweeping), etc. "Without fearing
the printer's devil or the sheriff's officer."
Macaulay. -- Tasmanian devil
(Zoöl.), a very savage carnivorous marsupial of
Tasmania (Dasyurus, or Diabolus, ursinus). -- To
play devil with, to molest extremely; to ruin.
Dev"il (?), v. t. [imp. & p.
p. Deviled (?) or Devilled; p. pr. &
vb. n. Deviling (?) or Devilling.]
1. To make like a devil; to invest with the
character of a devil.
2. To grill with Cayenne pepper; to season
highly in cooking, as with pepper.
A deviled leg of turkey. W.
- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
DEVIL. A printer's errand-boy. Also a small thread in
the king's ropes and cables, whereby they may be
distinguished from all others. The Devil himself; a small
streak of blue thread in the king's sails. The Devil may
dance in his pocket; i.e. he has no money: the cross on
our ancient coins being jocularly supposed to prevent him
from visiting that place, for fear, as it is said, of breaking
his shins against it. To hold a candle to the Devil; to
be civil to any one out of fear: in allusion to the story of
the old woman, who set a wax taper before the image of
St. Michael, and another before the Devil, whom that
saint is commonly represented as trampling under his feet:
being reproved for paying such honour to Satan, she answered,
as it was uncertain which place she should go
to, heaven or hell, she chose to secure a friend in both
places. That will be when the Devil is blind, and he has
not got sore eyes yet; said of any thing unlikely to happen.
It rains whilst the sun shines, the Devil is beating
his wife with a shoulder of mutton: this phenomenon is
also said to denote that cuckolds are going to heaven; on
being informed of this, a loving wife cried out with great
vehemence, 'Run, husband, run!'
The Devil was sick, the Devil a monk would be;
The Devil was well, the Devil a monk was he.
a proverb signifying that we are apt to forget promises
made in time of distress. To pull the Devil by the tail,
to be reduced to one's shifts. The Devil go with you and
sixpence, and then you will have both money and company.
DEVIL. The gizzard of a turkey or fowl, scored, peppered,
salted and broiled: it derives its appellation from being hot
in the mouth.
- The Devil's Dictionary (Ambrose Bierce)
- (Often capitalized) A creature of Hell; As The Devil: Satan.
- The bad part of the conscience; the opposite to the angel.
The devil in me wants to let him suffer.
- A wicked or naughty or person, or one who harbors reckless, spirited energy, especially in a mischevious way. Usually said of a young child.
Those two kids can really be little devils when they get into a toy store.
- A thing which is awkward or difficult to understand.
That mathematics problem is quite a devil.
- Hell. Often used with the often in a euphemistic way
What in the devil is that?
She is having a devil of a time fixing it.
He'll have a devil of a fate if he doesn't get it done on time.
You can go to the devil for all I care.
- Person, more often used in reference to a man in the sense of guy, usually in the phrases poor devil and lucky devil.
- A dust devil.
- In Christian Science, an evil or erroneous entity.
- Annoy or bother; to bedevil.
- To grill with Cayenne pepper; to season highly in cooking, as with pepper.
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia
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