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90s Slang You Should Know


[dih-vahys] /dɪˈvaɪs/
a thing made for a particular purpose; an invention or contrivance, especially a mechanical or electrical one.
a plan or scheme for effecting a purpose.
a crafty scheme; trick.
a particular word pattern, figure of speech, combination of word sounds, etc., used in a literary work to evoke a desired effect or arouse a desired reaction in the reader:
rhetorical devices.
a mobile device: Students may not bring devices into the secure testing center.
Don't leave your devices in a hot car.
something elaborately or fancifully designed.
a representation or design used as a heraldic charge or as an emblem, badge, trademark, or the like.
a motto.
Archaic. devising; invention.
Origin of device
late Middle English
1375-1425; blend of late Middle English devis division, discourse and devise heraldic device, will; both < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin dīvīsa, feminine of dīvīsus; see division
Related forms
deviceful, adjective
devicefully, adverb
devicefulness, noun
Can be confused
device, devise.
1. gadget. 2. project, design. 3. wile, ruse, artifice, stratagem, maneuver. 8. slogan, legend. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for device
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As, however, they continued to come, this was considered only as a device for raising the price.

    With the Allies to Pekin George Alfred Henty
  • I concluded they were a device of the bank messenger, by which he could square his package.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • By this device Solomon was enabled to distinguish between the natural and the artificial flowers.

  • The change was simply a device to allow the owner to protect his interest.

    The Common Law Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
  • It has not perceived that what in Homer was the main business of the epic, has become in later epic a device.

    The Epic Lascelles Abercrombie
British Dictionary definitions for device


a machine or tool used for a specific task; contrivance
(euphemistic) a bomb
a plan or plot, esp a clever or evil one; scheme; trick
any ornamental pattern or picture, as in embroidery
computer hardware that is designed for a specific function
a written, printed, or painted design or figure, used as a heraldic sign, emblem, trademark, etc
a particular pattern of words, figures of speech, etc, used in literature to produce an effect on the reader
(archaic) the act or process of planning or devising
leave someone to his own devices, to leave someone alone to do as he wishes
Word Origin
C13: from Old French devis purpose, contrivance and devise difference, intention, from deviser to divide, control; see devise
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for device

late 13c., from Old French devis "division, separation, disposition, wish, desire; coat of arms, emblem; last will," from deviser "to divide, distribute" (see devise). Sense of "method by which something is divided" arose in French and led to modern meaning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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device in Medicine

device de·vice (dĭ-vīs')
A contrivance or an invention serving a particular purpose, especially a machine used to perform one or more relatively simple tasks.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Idioms and Phrases with device
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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