[ bih-dev-uhl ]
See synonyms for: bedevilbedeviledbedevilment on

verb (used with object),be·dev·iled, be·dev·il·ing or (especially British) be·dev·illed, be·dev·il·ling.
  1. to torment or harass maliciously or diabolically, as with doubts, distractions, or worries.

  2. to possess, as with a devil; bewitch.

  1. to cause confusion or doubt in; muddle; confound: an issue bedeviled by prejudices.

  2. to beset or hamper continuously: a new building bedeviled by elevator failures.

Origin of bedevil

First recorded in 1760–70; be- + devil

Other words from bedevil

  • be·dev·il·ment, noun

Words Nearby bedevil Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use bedevil in a sentence

  • Matthew Yglesias on how President Obama can woo back liberals, bedevil the GOP—and change the outcome this fall.

    How to Win 2010 | Matthew Yglesias | January 10, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • And the rifts produced by the idea-besotted '60s continue to bedevil us.

  • What's become of that little boot-black that you used to bedevil?

    Gabriel Conroy | Bert Harte
  • Of all the vegetables calculated to bedevil human beings, he decided, growing corn was the worst.

    The Duck-footed Hound | James Arthur Kjelgaard
  • This contract in a very few years arose to bedevil the railroad situation in the North Country.

  • I've been listening to you trying to bedevil that man out there, but I'm afraid your humor is a little on the slap-stick order.

    Wide Courses | James Brendan Connolly
  • These miserable slaves and reptiles—mongrel Spaniards and mongrel Indians—can not very long bedevil that great country.

    Confession | W. Gilmore Simms

British Dictionary definitions for bedevil


/ (bɪˈdɛvəl) /

verb-ils, -illing or -illed or US -ils, -iling or -iled (tr)
  1. to harass or torment

  2. to throw into confusion

  1. to possess, as with a devil

Derived forms of bedevil

  • bedevilment, noun

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