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[dih-vahyz] /dɪˈvaɪz/
verb (used with object), devised, devising.
to contrive, plan, or elaborate; invent from existing principles or ideas:
to devise a method.
Law. to assign or transmit (property) by will.
Archaic. to imagine; suppose.
verb (used without object), devised, devising.
to form a plan; contrive.
  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.
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 forms
deviser, noun
predevise, verb (used with object), predevised, predevising.
self-devised, adjective
undevised, adjective
well-devised, adjective
Can be confused
device, devise.
1. See prepare. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for devise
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On gaining the pine grove, a council was held to devise what was the most prudent step to take.

  • We had a system in the operating-room as perfect as I could devise it.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Happy will be the man who can devise truly available means of supplying this grand want in our Work-World!

  • And they ate it uncooked, dipping it up in their hands, unable to devise any other way.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • It now remains for some inventor of Einsteinian proclivities to devise one in several dimensions!

    Mazes and Labyrinths W. H. Matthews
British Dictionary definitions for devise


to work out, contrive, or plan (something) in one's mind
(transitive) (law) to dispose of (property, esp real property) by will
(transitive) (obsolete) to imagine or guess
noun (law)
  1. a disposition of property by will
  2. the property so transmitted Compare bequeath (sense 1)
a will or clause in a will disposing of real property Compare bequest (sense 2)
Derived Forms
deviser, 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
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Word Origin and History for devise

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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