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[dih-vahys] /dɪˈvaɪs/
a thing made for a particular purpose; an invention or contrivance, especially a mechanical or electrical one.
a plan or scheme for effecting a purpose.
a crafty scheme; trick.
a particular word pattern, figure of speech, combination of word sounds, etc., used in a literary work to evoke a desired effect or arouse a desired reaction in the reader:
rhetorical devices.
something elaborately or fancifully designed.
a representation or design used as a heraldic charge or as an emblem, badge, trademark, or the like.
a motto.
Archaic. devising; invention.
Origin of device
late Middle English
1375-1425; blend of late Middle English devis division, discourse and devise heraldic device, will; both < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin dīvīsa, feminine of dīvīsus; see division
Related forms
deviceful, adjective
devicefully, adverb
devicefulness, noun
Can be confused
device, devise.
1. gadget. 2. project, design. 3. wile, ruse, artifice, stratagem, maneuver. 7. slogan, legend. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for devices
  • Powered by propane or a mixture of propane and butane, these devices are not meant to burn weeds.
  • Even though many nets are now equipped with devices to release the dolphins, the stress of capture alone may cause injury.
  • He has lost the secret of the older devices, and does not understand the new which were about to usurp their place.
  • Labor sweats to create-and turns out devices to level not only mountains but also cities.
  • Alliteration, puns and further word-play were other devices employed to the same end.
  • These devices may remain minority tastes for a while, if they ever catch on at all.
  • As more such devices win consumer acceptance, care will get both cheaper and better.
  • In the long run, smartphones and other mobile devices may also become shells to be filled as needed.
  • As smartphones and other mobile devices spread, they will need robust, rapid networks to deliver data to their owners.
  • Their actual use may turn out to be to provide power for portable electronic devices.
British Dictionary definitions for devices


a machine or tool used for a specific task; contrivance
(euphemistic) a bomb
a plan or plot, esp a clever or evil one; scheme; trick
any ornamental pattern or picture, as in embroidery
computer hardware that is designed for a specific function
a written, printed, or painted design or figure, used as a heraldic sign, emblem, trademark, etc
a particular pattern of words, figures of speech, etc, used in literature to produce an effect on the reader
(archaic) the act or process of planning or devising
leave someone to his own devices, to leave someone alone to do as he wishes
Word Origin
C13: from Old French devis purpose, contrivance and devise difference, intention, from deviser to divide, control; see devise
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 devices



late 13c., from Old French devis "division, separation, disposition, wish, desire; coat of arms, emblem; last will," from deviser "to divide, distribute" (see devise). Sense of "method by which something is divided" arose in French and led to modern meaning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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devices in Medicine

device de·vice (dĭ-vīs')
A contrivance or an invention serving a particular purpose, especially a machine used to perform one or more relatively simple tasks.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Idioms and Phrases with devices
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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