- 1the Devil [singular] (in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religions) the most powerful evil being synonym Satan He would sell his soul to the Devil.
- 2[countable] an evil spirit They believed she was possessed by devils.
- 3[countable] (informal) a person who behaves badly, especially a child a naughty little devil
- 4[countable, usually singular] (informal) used to talk about someone and to emphasize an opinion that you have of them I miss the old devil, now that he's gone. She's off to Greece for a month—lucky devil! James was a handsome devil and rich, too. Idioms
used to say that it is easier and wiser to stay in a bad situation that you know and can deal with rather than change to a new situation that may be much worse
better the devil you know (than the devil you don't) (saying)jump to other results
in a difficult situation where there are two equally unpleasant or unacceptable choices
between the devil and the deep blue seajump to other results
very difficult or unpleasant These berries are the devil to pick because they're so small.
the devil (old-fashioned)jump to other results
bad people often seem to have good luck
the devil looks after his own (saying)jump to other results
people who do not have enough to do often start to do wrong She blamed the crimes on the local jobless teenagers. “The devil makes work for idle hands,” she would say.
the devil makes work for idle hands (saying)jump to other results
a very difficult or unpleasant time I've had a devil of a time finding you.
a devil of a time (old-fashioned)jump to other results
a lot of trouble There'll be hell to pay when he finds out.
the devil/hell to pay (informal)jump to other results
very hard, fast, etc. We ran like the devil.
like the devil (old-fashioned) (informal)jump to other results
people say speak/talk of the devil when someone they have been talking about appears unexpectedly Well, speak of the devil—here's Alice now!
speak/talk of the devil (informal)jump to other results
used in questions to show that you are annoyed or surprised What the devil do you think you're doing?
what, where, who, why, etc. the devil… (old-fashioned)jump to other results