• synonyms


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


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

Examples from the Web for self-devised

Historical Examples

  • Man is a creature who has free will, and it is by self-devised and self-checked efforts he will attain his full human stature.

    National Being

    (A.E.)George William Russell

  • There is no uncertainty when God makes a way for us; but every self-devised path must prove a path of doubt and hesitation.

    Notes on the book of Exodus

    C. H. (Charles Henry) Mackintosh

  • They have merely reared a system of self-devised doctrine and idolatry, which they still defend.

  • But if your mixtures and self-devised snares are grievous to you, blame not God, but yourselves that made them.

  • So among the papists there are, besides the common ones, as many sorts of hypocrites as they have self-devised orders.

British Dictionary definitions for self-devised


  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

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 self-devised



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