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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 bedevilment
Historical Examples
  • He felt as in some hideous dream—long-involved—a maze of delusion and bedevilment, from which there was no escape.

    Mount Royal, Volume 3 of 3 Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • But having entered, the confusion and bedevilment was ten times worse than even in the churchyard itself.

  • Scotland is the home of weird, uncanny creatures, who take lovely shapes for the bedevilment of poor weak souls.

  • Isabelle did not formulate any plan of bedevilment for the Captain, but she watched for opportunities with lynx-eyed attention.

    The Cricket Marjorie Cooke
  • She had helped him—I had his own word for it that at Clockborough her bedevilment of the voters had really put him in.

    The Coxon Fund Henry James
British Dictionary definitions for bedevilment


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 bedevilment

1825, from bedevil + -ment.



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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