[ bih-dev-uh l ]
/ bɪˈdɛv əl /

verb (used with object), be·dev·iled, be·dev·il·ing or (especially British) be·dev·illed, be·dev·il·ling.

to torment or harass maliciously or diabolically, as with doubts, distractions, or worries.
to possess, as with a devil; bewitch.
to cause confusion or doubt in; muddle; confound: an issue bedeviled by prejudices.
to beset or hamper continuously: a new building bedeviled by elevator failures.

Nearby words

  1. bedecked,
  2. bedeguar,
  3. bedehouse,
  4. bedel,
  5. bedesman,
  6. bedevilment,
  7. bedew,
  8. bedfast,
  9. bedfellow,
  10. bedford

Origin of bedevil

First recorded in 1760–70; be- + devil

Related formsbe·dev·il·ment, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bedevil

British Dictionary definitions for bedevil


/ (bɪˈdɛvəl) /

verb -ils, -illing or -illed or US -ils, -iling or -iled (tr)

to harass or torment
to throw into confusion
to possess, as with a devil
Derived Formsbedevilment, 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

Word Origin and History for bedevil



1768, "to treat diabolically, abuse," from be- + verbal use of devil (q.v.). Meaning "to mischievously confuse" is from 1755; that of "to drive frantic" is from 1823. Related: Bedeviled (1570s, in a literal sense, "possessed"); bedeviling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper