Devil vs bedevil

Devil and bedevil are two words that are related. We will examine the definitions of devil and bedevil, where these terms came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A devil is a demon or evil entity. Devil may also be used metaphorically to mean an evil person. When capitalized as in the Devil, it refers to the supreme demon or Satan. Devil is most often used as a noun, but in Great Britain it can mean to act as an assistant to a barrister or other professional. In the United States it may be used interchangeably with the word bedevil. The word devil is derived from the Old English word deofol, which means evil spirit. Related words are devils, deviled, deviling in American English, and devils, devilled, devilling in British English.

To bedevil means to continually, annoy, harass, torment or trouble someone. The idea is to act as a minor demon, causing hardship and annoyance. The word bedevil is derived from the prefix be- meaning thoroughly or completely, and the Old English word deofol. Related words are bedevils, bedeviled, bedeviling in American English, and bedevils, bedevilled, bedevilling in British English.


The immediate past governor of Imo state, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, on Friday claimed that the chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, Rochas Okorocha “is hated even in the political party he spent billions of Naira belonging to Imo people to build”, alleging that party members see his successor as Devil. (The Daily Post)

The seductively simple story of the virtues of competition contains some general theoretical truth, but execution is how theory dies, and we can’t let blind faith prevent us from seeing the deviling details of how it operates in practice. (Scientific American)

Although Haley has previously demonstrated a gift for evoking the complex web of interpersonal, intergenerational connections that alternately bedevil and nourish us, “Hearts” zeroes in on the bittersweet nature of Frank’s special bond with Sam, who has inherited his love of, and affinity for, music. (The Twin Cities Pioneer Press)

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