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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for devices

Contemporary Examples of devices

Historical Examples of devices

  • She had been left completely, to her own devices when she was not wanted about the house.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • Two devices by which they may be made to stay in the hat are here shown.

    A Woman Tenderfoot

    Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

  • All my devices of horse-hair and deer-hide snares were foolishness in their sharp eyes.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • It might be that he thought it wisest not to leave her in London to her own devices.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Have you fought them for ten years without learning their devices?

    Old Greek Folk Stories Told Anew

    Josephine Preston Peabody

British Dictionary definitions for devices



a machine or tool used for a specific task; contrivance
euphemistic a bomb
a plan or plot, esp a clever or evil one; scheme; trick
any ornamental pattern or picture, as in embroidery
computer hardware that is designed for a specific function
a written, printed, or painted design or figure, used as a heraldic sign, emblem, trademark, etc
a particular pattern of words, figures of speech, etc, used in literature to produce an effect on the reader
archaic the act or process of planning or devising
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 devices



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

devices in Medicine




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 devices


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.