1. The Evil One; Satan, represented as the tempter and spiritual of mankind. "[Jesus] being forty days tempted of the devil." (Luke iv. 2) "That old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world." (Rev. Xii. 9)

2. An evil spirit; a demon. "A dumb man possessed with a devil." (Matt. Ix. 32)

3. A very wicked person; hence, any great evil. "That devil Glendower." "The devil drunkenness." "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (John vi. 70)

4. An expletive of surprise, vexation, or emphasis, or, ironically, of negation. "The devil a puritan that he is, . . . But a timepleaser." (Shak) "The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare, But wonder how the devil they got there." (Pope)

5. A dish, as a bone with the meat, broiled and excessively peppered; a grill with Cayenne pepper. "Men and women busy in baking, broiling, roasting oysters, and preparing devils on the gridiron." (Sir W. Scott)

6. A machine for tearing or cutting rags, cotton, etc. Blue devils. See Blue. Cartesian devil. See Cartesian.

<zoology> Devil bird, one of two or more South African drongo shrikes (Edolius retifer, and E. Remifer), believed by the natives to be connected with sorcery. Devil may care, reckless, defiant of authority; used adjectively.

<botany> Devil's apron, a very savage carnivorous marsupial of Tasmania (Dasyurus, or Diabolus, ursinus). To play devil with, to molest extremely; to ruin.

Origin: AS. Deofol, deoful; akin to G. Eufel, Goth. Diabaolus; all fr. L. Diabolus the devil, Gr. The devil, the slanderer, fr. To slander, calumniate, orig, to throw across; across + to throw, let fall, fall; cf. Skr. Gal to fall. Cf. Diabolic.

(01 Mar 1998)

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