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Old French devis, from Latin divisus, past participle of dividere (to divide), thus originally, when goods were being divided among people, a mark put on each item to say who was getting what.


device (plural devices)

  1. Any piece of equipment made for a particular purpose, especially a mechanical or electrical one.
    There are a number of household devices in a kitchen such as a dishwasher, a garbage disposal, or an electric can opener.
  2. A project or scheme, often designed to deceive; a stratagem; an artifice.
  3. (rhetoric) A technique that an author or speaker uses to evoke an emotional response in the audience; a rhetorical device.
  4. (heraldry) A motto, emblem, or other mark used to distinguish the bearer from others. A device differs from a badge or cognizance primarily because as it is a personal distinction, and not a badge borne by members of the same house successively.
  5. (archaic) Power of devising; invention; contrivance.
    • 1824. Landor, Walter Savage "King Henry IV and Sir Arnold Savage" from Imaginary Conversations of Literary Men and Statesmen, page 44
      Moreover I must have instruments of mine own device, weighty, and exceeding costly
    • 1976. The Eagles, "Hotel California"
      And she said,
      "We are all prisoners here,
      Of our own device"
  6. (law) An image used in whole or in part as a trademark or service mark.
  7. (printing) An image or logo denoting official or proprietary authority or provenience.
    • 1943 United States Post Office Department. A Description of United States Postage Stamps / Issued by the Post Office Department from July 1, 1847, to April 1, 1945 [sic], USGPO, Washington, p1:
      Prior to the issuance of the first stamps, letters accepted by postmasters for dispatch were marked "Paid" by means of pen and ink or hand stamps of various designs. [...] To facilitate the handling of mail matter, some postmasters provided special stamps or devices for use on letters as evidence of the prepayment of postage.
  8. (obsolete) A spectacle or show.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Beaumont and Fletcher to this entry?)
  9. (obsolete) Opinion; decision.


Derived terms[edit]


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device f

  1. genitive singular form of devica.
  2. nominative plural form of devica.
  3. accusative plural form of devica.