From Middle English devil, devel, deovel, from Old English dēofol, dēoful, from earlier dīobul (“devil”), from Latin diabolus, ultimately from Ancient Greek διάβολος (diábolos, “accuser, slanderer”), also as "Satan" (in Jewish/Christian usage, translating Biblical Hebrew שָׂטָן (śātān)), from διαβάλλω (diabállō, “to slander”), literally “to throw across”, from διά (diá, “through, across”) + βάλλω (bállō, “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 Saterland Frisian Düüwel (“devil”), West Frisian duvel (“devil”), Dutch duivel, duvel (“devil”), German Low German Düvel (“devil”), German Teufel (“devil”), Danish djævel (“devil”), Swedish djävul (“devil”) (older: djefvul, Old Swedish diævul, Old Norse djǫfull).
devil (plural devils)
- (theology) An evil creature.
- (theology, singular only) (the devil or the Devil) The chief devil; Satan.
- The bad part of the conscience; the opposite to the angel.
- A wicked or naughty person, or one who harbors reckless, spirited energy, especially in a mischievous way; usually said of a young child.
- A thing that is awkward or difficult to understand or do.
- (euphemistic, with an article, as an intensifier) Hell.
- A person, especially a man; used to express a particular opinion of him, usually in the phrases poor devil and lucky devil.
- A dust devil.
- (religion, Christian Science) An evil or erring entity.
- (dialectal, in compounds) A barren, unproductive and unused area.
- (cooking) A dish, as a bone with the meat, broiled and excessively peppered; a grill with Cayenne pepper.
- A machine for tearing or cutting rags, cotton, etc.
- A Tasmanian devil.
- (cycling, slang) An endurance event where riders who fall behind are periodically eliminated.
devil (third-person singular simple present devils, present participle (US) deviling or devilling, simple past and past participle (US) deviled or devilled)
- To make like a devil; to invest with the character of a devil.
- To annoy or bother; to bedevil.
- To work as a ‘devil’; to work for a lawyer or writer without fee or recognition.
- To grill with cayenne pepper; to season highly in cooking, as with pepper.
- To finely grind cooked ham or other meat with spices and condiments.
- To prepare a sidedish of shelled halved boiled eggs to whose extracted yolks are added condiments and spices, which mixture then is placed into the halved whites to be served.