• synonyms


  1. departing from the most direct way; circuitous; indirect: a devious course.
  2. without definite course; vagrant: a devious current.
  3. departing from the proper or accepted way; roundabout: a devious procedure.
  4. not straightforward; shifty or crooked: a devious scheme to acquire wealth.
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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 formsde·vi·ous·ly, adverbde·vi·ous·ness, nounnon·de·vi·ous, adjectivenon·de·vi·ous·ly, adverbnon·de·vi·ous·ness, nounun·de·vi·ous, adjectiveun·de·vi·ous·ly, adverbun·de·vi·ous·ness, noun


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for deviously


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

Word Origin

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 deviously



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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper