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See more synonyms for devise on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), de·vised, de·vis·ing.
  1. to contrive, plan, or elaborate; invent from existing principles or ideas: to devise a method.
  2. Law. to assign or transmit (property) by will.
  3. Archaic. to imagine; suppose.
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verb (used without object), de·vised, de·vis·ing.
  1. to form a plan; contrive.
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  1. Law.
    1. the act of disposing of property, especially real property, by will.
    2. a will or clause in a will disposing of property, especially real property.
    3. the property so disposed of.
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Origin of devise

1150–1200; (v.) Middle English devisen to inspect, design, compose < Old French deviser < Vulgar Latin *dēvīsāre, for *dīvīsāre, frequentative of Latin dīvidere to divide; (noun) see device
Related formsde·vis·er, nounpre·de·vise, verb (used with object), pre·de·vised, pre·de·vis·ing.self-de·vised, adjectiveun·de·vised, adjectivewell-de·vised, adjective
Can be confuseddevice devise

Synonyms for devise

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

Related Words for devise

concoct, prepare, formulate, create, discover, invent, craft, design, construct, hatch, forge, mastermind, arrange, blueprint, plot, ad-lib, form, improvise, frame, machinate

Examples from the Web for devise

Contemporary Examples of devise

Historical Examples of devise

  • We had a system in the operating-room as perfect as I could devise it.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • I will devise it to humanity, and John Burke shall execute the will.

  • His researches on the dynamo caused him to devise what he calls an 'harmonic engine.'

  • But try as I might, I could only devise something so commonplace that I let the clay spoil.

  • During their walk they might devise some means of breaking the news in a gentle way.

British Dictionary definitions for devise


  1. to work out, contrive, or plan (something) in one's mind
  2. (tr) law to dispose of (property, esp real property) by will
  3. (tr) obsolete to imagine or guess
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noun law
    1. a disposition of property by will
    2. the property so transmittedCompare bequeath (def. 1)
  1. a will or clause in a will disposing of real propertyCompare bequest (def. 2)
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Derived Formsdeviser, noun

Word Origin for devise

C15: from Old French deviser to divide, apportion, intend, from Latin dīvidere to divide
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 devise


early 13c., "to form, fashion;" c.1300, "to plan, contrive," from Old French deviser "dispose in portions, arrange, plan, contrive" (in modern French, "to chat, gossip"), from Vulgar Latin *divisare, frequentative of Latin dividere "to divide" (see divide). Modern sense is from "to arrange a division" (especially via a will), a meaning present in the Old French word. Related: Devised; devising.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper