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1590s, "out of the common or direct way," from Latin devius (out of the way, remote, off the main road), from de via, from de (off) (see de-) + via (way, road). Compare deviate. Originally in the Latin literal sense; the figurative sense of "deceitful" is first recorded 1630s. Related to deviously, deviousness. Figurative senses of the Latin word were "retired, sequestered, wandering in the byways, foolish, inconsistent."



devious (comparative more devious, superlative most devious)

  1. Cunning or deceiving, not straightforward or honest, not frank.
  2. Roundabout, circuitous, deviating from the direct or ordinary route.


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