Definition of devious in English:

devious

Syllabification: de·vi·ous
Pronunciation: /ˈdēvēəs
 
/

adjective

1Showing a skillful use of underhanded tactics to achieve goals: he’s as devious as a politician needs to be they have devious ways of making money
More example sentences
  • It can only be the devious and underhand tactic of incorporating it in 90% of the world's web browsers.
  • The Nazis saw the Jews and Poles as feminine races, achieving their goals through devious plots rather than masculine openness.
  • That is the sort of devious, dodgy tactic this Government gets up to.
Synonyms
underhanded, deceitful, dishonest, dishonorable, unethical, unprincipled, immoral, unscrupulous, fraudulent, dubious, unfair, treacherous, duplicitous; crafty, cunning, calculating, artful, conniving, scheming, sly, wily; sneaky, furtive, secret, clandestine, surreptitious, covert, snide
informal crooked, shady, dirty, lowdown
2(Of a route or journey) longer and less direct than the most straightforward way: they arrived at the town by a devious route
More example sentences
  • What is difficult about maneuver is to make the devious route the most direct and to turn misfortune to advantage.
  • The Scire made her way by a devious route to Port Lago on the Italian-occupied island of Leros in the Aegean to rendezvous with the frogmen crews.
Synonyms

Origin

late 16th century: from Latin devius (from de- 'away from' + via 'way') + -ous. The original sense was 'remote or sequestered'; the later sense 'departing from the direct route' gave rise to the figurative sense 'deviating from the straight way' and hence 'skilled in underhanded tactics'.

Derivatives

deviously

adverb
More example sentences
  • Little did the police and the authorities, particularly the Foreign Office, know that all along the defendant was deviously spinning a web of lies.
  • Perhaps the fairy godmother could use one of her potions or deviously install her son as Fiona's new husband.
  • Instead of believing that, I have, being the deviously intelligent person I am, found out a way to curb this phobia of mine.

deviousness

noun
More example sentences
  • When we each get up to our particular bit of crookery and deviousness we don't say, ‘I'm stealing or cheating’ we say ‘I'm beating the system.’
  • When bad cops and crooks get together, the deviousness is doubled.
  • You can always get what you want by bribery and corruption, dishonesty and deviousness.

Definition of devious in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day hypnopompic
Pronunciation: ˌhɪpnə(ʊ)ˈpɒmpɪk
adjective
relating to the state immediately preceding waking up