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[dih-vahyz] /dɪˈvaɪz/
verb (used with object), devised, devising.
to contrive, plan, or elaborate; invent from existing principles or ideas:
to devise a method.
Law. to assign or transmit (property) by will.
Archaic. to imagine; suppose.
verb (used without object), devised, devising.
to form a plan; contrive.
  1. the act of disposing of property, especially real property, by will.
  2. a will or clause in a will disposing of property, especially real property.
  3. the property so disposed of.
Origin of devise
1150-1200; (v.) Middle English devisen to inspect, design, compose < Old French deviser < Vulgar Latin *dēvīsāre, for *dīvīsāre, frequentative of Latin dīvidere to divide; (noun) see device
Related forms
deviser, noun
predevise, verb (used with object), predevised, predevising.
self-devised, adjective
undevised, adjective
well-devised, adjective
Can be confused
device, devise. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for devising
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was plain enough that he was devising some expedient to escape the three-master.

    Fighting for the Right Oliver Optic
  • Le Verrier, however, succeeded in devising a method of weighing it.

    The Story of the Heavens Robert Stawell Ball
  • The Germans showed more than common ingenuity in devising traps to hinder the advance of the Allies.

  • It is as avid and relentless in devising ant-traps as elephant-snares.

    Frenzied Finance Thomas W. Lawson
  • Beside the fire, my master fell to devising about the state of the country, as burgesses love to do.

    A Monk of Fife Andrew Lang
  • As they were going along, Raoul was engaged in devising his scheme of action.

    Ten Years Later Alexandre Dumas, Pere
British Dictionary definitions for devising


to work out, contrive, or plan (something) in one's mind
(transitive) (law) to dispose of (property, esp real property) by will
(transitive) (obsolete) to imagine or guess
noun (law)
  1. a disposition of property by will
  2. the property so transmitted Compare bequeath (sense 1)
a will or clause in a will disposing of real property Compare bequest (sense 2)
Derived Forms
deviser, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French deviser to divide, apportion, intend, from Latin dīvidere to divide
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 devising



early 13c., "to form, fashion;" c.1300, "to plan, contrive," from Old French deviser "dispose in portions, arrange, plan, contrive" (in modern French, "to chat, gossip"), from Vulgar Latin *divisare, frequentative of Latin dividere "to divide" (see divide). Modern sense is from "to arrange a division" (especially via a will), a meaning present in the Old French word. Related: Devised; devising.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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