Meaning of “devil” in the English Dictionary

american-english dictionary

"devil" in British English

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uk /ˈdev.əl/ us /ˈdev.əl/

devil noun (EVIL BEING)

B2 [ C ] an evil being, often represented in human form but with a tail and horns

the devil [ S ] often the Devil

a powerful evil force and the enemy of God in Christianity and Judaism


  • He's a sly old devil - I wouldn't trust him with my money.
  • André's got a new job, the lucky devil.
  • Gothic churches are full of devils and grotesque figures.
  • One survivor described his torturers as devils incarnate.
  • The devil was painted with horns and cloven hoofs.

devil noun (PERSON)

C2 [ C ] informal someone, especially a child, who behaves badly:

Those little/young devils broke my window.

[ C ] informal humorous a person who enjoys doing things people might disapprove of:

"I'm going to wear a short black skirt and thigh-length boots." "Ooh, you devil!"
Have another slice of cake - go on, be a devil!

[ C ] informal used with an adjective to describe someone and express your opinion about something that has happened to them:

I hear you've got a new car, you lucky devil!
He's been ill for weeks, poor devil.

(Definition of “devil” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"devil" in American English

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devilnoun [ C ]

us /ˈdev·əl/

an evil being, often represented in human form but with a tail and horns

the Devil

The Devil, in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, is the most powerful evil spirit.

The devil can be used to give emphasis to a question:

What the devil are you doing?

(Definition of “devil” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)