• 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 well-devised

Historical Examples

  • But it is a well-devised plan to have a reserve in the battles of society.

    The Young Duke

    Benjamin Disraeli

  • How can we better help these forces than by well-devised emigration?

  • Now it came very near to wrecking Sinclair's well-devised plans.


    Ernest G. Henham

  • I have a gift of writing, but I need not wear my brain out thinking of curious essays and well-devised stories and clever plots.

  • A well-devised system of electric tramways provides for local communication within the city and with the outlying suburbs.

British Dictionary definitions for well-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 well-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