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devious

Line breaks: de|vi¦ous
Pronunciation: /ˈdiːvɪəs
 
/

Definition of devious in English:

adjective

1Showing a skilful use of underhand 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
underhand, underhanded, deceitful, dishonest, dishonourable, disreputable, unethical, unprincipled, immoral, unscrupulous, fraudulent, cheating, dubious, dirty, unfair, treacherous, duplicitous, double-dealing, Janus-faced, below the belt, two-timing, two-faced, unsporting, unsportsmanlike;
sneaky, sneaking, furtive, secret, secretive, clandestine, surreptitious, covert, veiled, shrouded, cloak-and-dagger, hugger-mugger, hole-and-corner, hidden, back-alley, backstairs, under the table, conspiratorial;
North American snide, snidey
informal crooked, shady, bent, low-down, murky, fishy
British informal dodgy
Australian/New Zealand informal shonky
South African informal slim
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'; the later sense 'departing from the direct route' gave rise to the figurative sense 'deviating from the straight way' and hence 'skilled in underhand tactics'.

More
  • via from (late 18th century):

    The Latin word via meant ‘way, road’. It survives in the names of major Roman roads, such as Via Appia. The Christian Church also uses it in terms such as the Via Dolorosa, the route Jesus is believed to have taken to crucifixion and meaning ‘the painful path’. A deviation (Late Middle English) is literally a turning away from the path as is behaviour that is devious (late 16th century). Viaduct was formed from via in the early 19th century on the model of aqueduct ( see duct). An envoy (mid 17th century) is someone sent on their way, formed from French envoyé ‘sent’, while obvious (late 16th century) comes from Latin ob viam ‘in the way’.

Derivatives

deviously

1
adverb
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

2
noun
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.

Words that rhyme with devious

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Definition of devious in:

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