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  1. a thing made for a particular purpose; an invention or contrivance, especially a mechanical or electrical one.
  2. a plan or scheme for effecting a purpose.
  3. a crafty scheme; trick.
  4. 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.
  5. a mobile device: Students may not bring devices into the secure testing center. Don't leave your devices in a hot car.
  6. something elaborately or fancifully designed.
  7. a representation or design used as a heraldic charge or as an emblem, badge, trademark, or the like.
  8. a motto.
  9. Archaic. devising; invention.

Origin of device

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 formsde·vice·ful, adjectivede·vice·ful·ly, adverbde·vice·ful·ness, noun
Can be confuseddevice devise

Synonyms for device

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for device

Contemporary Examples of device

Historical Examples of device

British Dictionary definitions for device


  1. a machine or tool used for a specific task; contrivance
  2. euphemistic a bomb
  3. a plan or plot, esp a clever or evil one; scheme; trick
  4. any ornamental pattern or picture, as in embroidery
  5. computer hardware that is designed for a specific function
  6. a written, printed, or painted design or figure, used as a heraldic sign, emblem, trademark, etc
  7. a particular pattern of words, figures of speech, etc, used in literature to produce an effect on the reader
  8. archaic the act or process of planning or devising
  9. leave someone to his own devices to leave someone alone to do as he wishes

Word Origin for device

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

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

device in Medicine


  1. 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.

Idioms and Phrases with device


see leave to someone's own devices.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.