Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



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" (see via). Compare deviate. Originally in the Latin literal sense; the figurative sense of "deceitful" is first recorded 1630s. Related: 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
    • 1801, Robert Southey, Thalaba the Destroyer:
      The wandering Arab never sets his tent
      Within her walls; the Shepherd eyes afar
      Her evil towers, and devious drives his flock.
    • 1839, Frederick Marryat, The Phantom Ship:
      Keeping close in to the shore, they discovered, after two hours run, a fresh stream which burst in a cascade from the mountains, and swept its devious course through the jungle, until it poured its tribute into the waters of the Strait.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.