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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.
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 bedeviled
  • Our city is bedeviled by such ingrained hierarchies.
  • These chips suffer only one tenth the energy leakage that bedeviled their predecessors, which gives them longer battery life.
  • The father was bedeviled by chronic procrastination and low energy and a robust depression.
  • If this sounds familiar it is because similar scandals bedeviled the previous two holders of the farm minister's portfolio.
  • Even at the village level there were factions: common purpose was bedeviled by factional divides.
  • The question had bedeviled oceanographers for decades.
  • Yet all their attempts to neatly sort humanity were bedeviled by the tremendous variation in our species.
  • It's a criticism that familiarly echoes the one that has bedeviled jazz as a whole for some years.
  • Feathered dinosaurs may have been the first animals bedeviled by lice.
  • The social barriers facing hive computing are the same that have long bedeviled socialism.
British Dictionary definitions for bedeviled


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 bedeviled



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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