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[bih-dev-uh l] /bɪˈdɛv əl/
verb (used with object), bedeviled, bedeviling or (especially British) bedevilled, bedevilling.
to torment or harass maliciously or diabolically, as with doubts, distractions, or worries.
to possess, as with a devil; bewitch.
to cause confusion or doubt in; muddle; confound:
an issue bedeviled by prejudices.
to beset or hamper continuously:
a new building bedeviled by elevator failures.
Origin of bedevil
1760-70; be- + devil
Related forms
bedevilment, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bedevil
  • Keeping those promises will soon start to bedevil the administration.
  • Many of those cases have been finally decided and provide guidance on questions that bedevil human resource employees.
  • Issues of appropriate weighting in the aggregation process will presumably always bedevil us.
  • Epidemics continued to bedevil the troops, especially lethal yellow fever.
  • Profound questions that seem almost theological in nature both bedevil and inspire us.
  • Still, it provides a means of addressing the issues that continue to bedevil monopolization cases.
  • But no one should feel misled or disappointed if doing so doesn't solve all of the questions that bedevil us.
British Dictionary definitions for bedevil


verb (transitive) -ils, -illing, -illed (US) -ils, -iling, -iled
to harass or torment
to throw into confusion
to possess, as with a devil
Derived Forms
bedevilment, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for bedevil

1768, "to treat diabolically, abuse," from be- + verbal use of devil (q.v.). Meaning "to mischievously confuse" is from 1755; that of "to drive frantic" is from 1823. Related: Bedeviled (1570s, in a literal sense, "possessed"); bedeviling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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