1. a thing made for a particular purpose; an invention or contrivance, especially a mechanical or electrical one.
  2. a plan or scheme for effecting a purpose.
  3. a crafty scheme; trick.
  4. 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.
  5. a mobile device: Students may not bring devices into the secure testing center. Don’t leave your devices in a hot car.
  6. something elaborately or fancifully designed.
  7. a representation or design used as a heraldic charge or as an emblem, badge, trademark, or the like.
  8. a motto.
  9. Archaic. devising; invention.


  1. a machine or tool used for a specific task; contrivance
  2. euphemistic a bomb
  3. a plan or plot, esp a clever or evil one; scheme; trick
  4. any ornamental pattern or picture, as in embroidery
  5. computer hardware that is designed for a specific function
  6. a written, printed, or painted design or figure, used as a heraldic sign, emblem, trademark, etc
  7. a particular pattern of words, figures of speech, etc, used in literature to produce an effect on the reader
  8. archaic the act or process of planning or devising
  9. leave someone to his own devices to leave someone alone to do as he wishes

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.


  1. A contrivance or an invention serving a particular purpose, especially a machine used to perform one or more relatively simple tasks.

see leave to someone’s own devices.

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