bedevil

[bih-dev-uh l]
See more synonyms for bedevil on Thesaurus.com
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.
  3. to cause confusion or doubt in; muddle; confound: an issue bedeviled by prejudices.
  4. to beset or hamper continuously: a new building bedeviled by elevator failures.

Origin of bedevil

First recorded in 1760–70; be- + devil
Related formsbe·dev·il·ment, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for bedevilment

Historical Examples of bedevilment

  • He felt as in some hideous dream—long-involved—a maze of delusion and bedevilment, from which there was no escape.

    Mount Royal, Volume 3 of 3

    Mary Elizabeth Braddon

  • But having entered, the confusion and bedevilment was ten times worse than even in the churchyard itself.

  • Scotland is the home of weird, uncanny creatures, who take lovely shapes for the bedevilment of poor weak souls.

  • Isabelle did not formulate any plan of bedevilment for the Captain, but she watched for opportunities with lynx-eyed attention.

    The Cricket

    Marjorie Cooke

  • She had helped him—I had his own word for it that at Clockborough her bedevilment of the voters had really put him in.

    The Coxon Fund

    Henry James


British Dictionary definitions for bedevilment

bedevil

verb -ils, -illing or -illed or US -ils, -iling or -iled (tr)
  1. to harass or torment
  2. to throw into confusion
  3. 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 bedevilment
n.

1825, from bedevil + -ment.

bedevil

v.

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