[ dee-vee-uhs ]
/ ˈdi vi əs /


departing from the most direct way; circuitous; indirect: a devious course.
without definite course; vagrant: a devious current.
departing from the proper or accepted way; roundabout: a devious procedure.
not straightforward; shifty or crooked: a devious scheme to acquire wealth.

Nearby words

  1. devils-on-horseback,
  2. deviltry,
  3. devilwood,
  4. devine,
  5. deviometer,
  6. deviously,
  7. devirginate,
  8. devisable,
  9. devisal,
  10. devise

Origin of devious

1590–1600; < Latin dēvius out-of-the way, erratic, equivalent to dē- de- + -vius adj. derivative of via way; see -ous

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

Examples from the Web for devious

British Dictionary definitions for devious


/ (ˈdiːvɪəs) /


not sincere or candid; deceitful; underhand
(of a route or course of action) rambling; indirect; roundabout
going astray from a proper or accepted way; erring
Derived Formsdeviously, adverbdeviousness, noun

Word Origin for devious

C16: from Latin dēvius lying to one side of the road, from de- + via road

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 devious



1590s, "out of the way," from Latin devius "out of the way, remote, off the main road," from de via (see deviate). Originally in the Latin literal sense; figurative sense of "deceitful" is first recorded 1630s. Related: Deviously; deviousness. Figurative senses of the Latin word were "retired, sequestered, wandering in the byways, foolish, inconsistent."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper