Definition of device in English:


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  • 1A thing made or adapted for a particular purpose, especially a piece of mechanical or electronic equipment.

    ‘a measuring device’
    • ‘The aim of nanotechnology is to manipulate molecules atom by atom, treating them like mechanical devices with gears, wheels, levers, hooks, pivots, locks and keys.’
    • ‘Such articles include electronic devices, dust handling equipment and notebook computer enclosures.’
    • ‘Radioactivity cannot be felt, smelled, seen, or heard directly and is detectable only with the aid of mechanical or electronic devices.’
    • ‘Systems of this kind are being introduced in washing machines, automobiles, medical instruments, telecommunication devices and defence equipment.’
    • ‘A video camera was trained on her throughout her first visit, she was wired up to enough electrical measuring devices to light a small town, and obligingly she repeatedly passed out.’
    • ‘From his youth Brunelleschi had been interested in mechanical devices, in particular clocks, wheels, gears and weights.’
    • ‘Automobiles have traditionally been seen as mechanical devices with some electric components.’
    • ‘All chipmakers, including market leader Intel, have been hit by falling demand from the makers of communications equipment and consumer electronic devices.’
    • ‘The other piece of equipment is a device called a hydrometer, which measures alcoholic strength.’
    • ‘It's too difficult to take notes with a stylus, and the keyboards for these devices are separate pieces of equipment.’
    • ‘Cameras are very complex devices full of electronic trickery and mechanical movements.’
    • ‘Inventors of the tiniest machines have tapped various power sources for their devices: electricity, light, even DNA.’
    • ‘Mobile fuel cells can power cars and portable electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptop computers.’
    • ‘Fitted with whirring wheels, gears and other devices, the old mechanical toys have acquired retro-cool status among many affluent young collectors.’
    • ‘When his home in Bridgemill Road, Blackburn, was raided, hundreds of discs, mailing lists, copying devices and computer equipment were found in a back bedroom.’
    • ‘The Homeland Security Department is also testing alternatives, such as electronic monitoring devices.’
    • ‘Basically, the computers and other electronic devices would do most of the work and the only problem would lie in how to spend all this spare time.’
    • ‘Winnipeg's experience with both types of electronic traffic control devices is still relatively short.’
    • ‘The equipment includes special gripping devices for pens to help people write with a shaking wrist and also cheque signing guides.’
    • ‘There is the haphazard cluster of dozens of small stalls that sell everything from pins to electronic devices.’
    implement, gadget, utensil, tool, appliance, piece of equipment, apparatus, piece of apparatus, piece of hardware, instrument, machine, mechanism, contrivance, contraption, invention, convenience, amenity, aid
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    1. 1.1A bomb or other explosive weapon.
      ‘an incendiary device’
      • ‘Bucher considered stocking the ship with Thermite, an incendiary device that is very difficult to extinguish.’
      • ‘Their priority is an end to air strikes, tank attacks, artillery barrages, sniping, car bombs and roadside explosive devices.’
      • ‘The 1949 Soviet explosion of a nuclear device reinforced the image of an external threat.’
      • ‘Car bombs are a very significant part, car bombs, truck bombs, explosive devices.’
      • ‘A dirty bomb is an explosive device manufactured to spread harmful radioactive material over a wide range.’
      • ‘An improvised explosive device, a pipe bomb, went off and yes, it has, I suppose, marred the reputation of the 1996 Olympics.’
      • ‘The vehicles will provide increased protection against grenades, improvised explosive devices, and small-arms fire.’
      • ‘Food is acquired by using an incendiary device, a hand grenade thrown into the water, producing a harvest of frogs.’
      • ‘The truth is that weapons, even explosive or incendiary devices, still can get aboard a plane.’
      • ‘Over the past decade, we have learned a thing or two about how insurgents fight, their tactics and methods, and their weapons and explosive devices.’
      • ‘‘Ambulances have been used as a method of transporting militants, weapons, and explosive devices,’ he says.’
      • ‘Roadside bombs or improvised explosive devices are inflicting a heavy toll on American troops.’
      • ‘Powerful states cannot fully escape bricolage terrorism, nail bombs, elementary nuclear devices, and homemade biological weapons.’
      • ‘The work of military and civilian bomb disposal experts also involves the handling of improvised explosive devices planted by terrorist groups.’
      • ‘Well it's a bomb, an explosive device, which has contained within it some radioactive material.’
      • ‘Officers were yesterday searching several addresses but no weapons or any explosive devices were believed to have been found.’
      • ‘The dogs are not used to detect mines or booby traps - they are only trained to detect raw explosives such, as improvised explosive devices, and weapons and ammunition.’
      • ‘Iam brought several pounds of plastic explosives and detonation devices with him to sabotage the plant when the time came.’
      • ‘Almost all were killed by improvised explosive devices and land mines.’
      • ‘They've been firing into those improvised explosive devices, homemade bombs, with tanks, setting off huge explosions.’
      explosive, incendiary device, incendiary, device
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    2. 1.2A piece of portable electronic equipment that can connect to the internet, such as a smartphone, tablet, or laptop computer.
      ‘a service that attempts to make all of your files available on all your devices whenever you want them’
      • ‘simply connect your device to a power outlet as well as Wi-Fi’
      • ‘The headband with its built-in speakers connects wirelessly to any Bluetooth-enabled device.’
      • ‘Authorities say the inability to get into encrypted devices has snarled investigations.’
      • ‘The arrangement will make the company's catalogue of documentaries available to users across a wide range of smart TV devices.’
      • ‘The highlight of this device is said to be its massive battery along with support for fast charging.’
      • ‘App downloads grow most rapidly in these markets as more consumers buy new devices and begin to build their app collection.’
      • ‘The device delivers an unconventional smartphone experience by completely removing physical buttons.’
      • ‘5G devices should be ready for roll-out by the middle of this year.’
      • ‘The company is facing lawsuits from users who were unhappy about its intentional move to slow down their phones due to the aging batteries of their devices.’
      • ‘Users can download its new and updated app on their devices for free.’
      • ‘For a while, I migrated my music collection onto my devices.’
  • 2A plan, method, or trick with a particular aim.

    ‘writing a public letter is a traditional device for signaling dissent’
    • ‘In the absence of other methods and devices, an Australian Bill of Rights may have been useful.’
    • ‘Anarchists don't salute anyone and they wouldn't think to use it as a mnemonic device, but their method is the same.’
    • ‘Doris and Nana appear out of nowhere and act as little more than clumsy devices to move the plot along and reveal the truth behind mysteries set up elsewhere.’
    • ‘But while questions linger, so do doubts about the play's structure and plot devices.’
    • ‘Then, the methods and devices listed above will also work for removing cooking odors.’
    • ‘There are many devices and methods used to detect and quantify subsurface moisture.’
    • ‘At times, he can't resist using pat plot devices to move action along, or coasting on a kind of breezy glibness.’
    • ‘Mercury rules the animal spirit and is the author of subtlety, tricks, devices, and perjury.’
    • ‘Daniel Brochu is somewhat wasted in the role of younger Vinci brother Francesco who is, again, less of a character in his own right than a device to move the plot along.’
    • ‘He asks her to go to Hong Kong with him but she rejects his offer using the device of a card trick and both leave with regret.’
    • ‘Instead, what we end up with is a parlor trick as plot device, a shockingly surreal way of keeping both husband and wife front and center in the storyline.’
    • ‘Traditional constitutional devices had neutralized this democratic threat by ensuring that state power remained limited in size and scope.’
    • ‘Some readers may be frustrated by the apparent lack of action and the leisurely pace of the plot but these devices are used intentionally by McEwan to convey his overall message.’
    • ‘The board is adopting devices and methods to defeat the very purpose and object of the Bank.’
    • ‘The device also aims to counter the Chancellor's plans of introducing a tax on extra bags left outside wheelie bins.’
    • ‘Moore's method uses the axiomatic method as an instructional device.’
    • ‘Here, traditional Mediterranean devices have been collaged together to give a human heart to the formerly coldly functional institution.’
    • ‘These told me that Lichtenstein's style defined his approach - he made it his own; it wasn't an affectation, a mere imitative device or clever trick.’
    • ‘Oh, and Scully had a kid who could move things around with his mind, a plot device I haven't seen since Bewitched.’
    • ‘The traditional device is to terrify the population.’
    ploy, plan, cunning plan, tactic, move, means, stratagem, scheme, plot, trick, ruse, gambit, manoeuvre, machination, intrigue, contrivance, expedient, dodge, artifice, subterfuge, game, wile
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    1. 2.1A turn of phrase intended to produce a particular effect in speech or a literary work.
      ‘a rhetorical device’
      • ‘Obviously, this a rhetorical device: a trope or some sort of shorthand for the linking of theory to practice.’
      • ‘These ten poems are not joined together by a narrative structure, or recurring rhetorical devices intended to produce a unified group of poems.’
      • ‘In a work of literature Stewart's lies would constitute synecdoche, the rhetorical device in which a part stands for the whole.’
      • ‘Yet isn't prosopopeia a rhetorical device that is found, as a matter of course, in all poetry?’
      • ‘Literary devices such as similes and personification are introduced.’
      • ‘Detailed studies confirmed that the same stylistic features, the same literary devices such as irony and double-meanings, and the same theological motifs are found in all parts of the text.’
      • ‘Angelo, on the other hand, has fifty-six lines before he meets with Isabella which contain few rhetorical devices, in keeping with forensic speech.’
      • ‘In one sense, metaphor and symbol are literary devices while in another they represent actual involuntary psychic processes.’
      • ‘Included in this ‘style’ section are the traditional rhetorical devices and figures of speech.’
      • ‘‘The Divine Comedy’ is an epic poem brimming with information and eloquent literary devices.’
      • ‘To that end, the employment of a first-person subjective voice is one of the most powerful literary devices that creative nonfiction writers can use.’
      • ‘A book that uses literary language and other literary devices demands the attention of its readers.’
      • ‘I was teaching a basic college writing course one summer at the local community college and I wanted to explain irony as a literary device.’
      • ‘Finally, in this poem as in many others in the same collection, Prévert employs the list as a rhetorical poetic device.’
      • ‘An inventive, engaging and meaningful use of the device of prosopopœia is a vibrant element of Prynne's poesis.’
      • ‘No memorized list of rhetorical devices will make an orator of a student who cannot grasp and creatively imitate the structure of a twenty-minute speech.’
      • ‘The next step is a focus on specific rhetorical devices.’
      • ‘The blatantness of its rhetorical devices and the perverseness of its address create discomfort for serious theorists.’
      • ‘Such an ambivalence would make for incoherence and would be hard to accept if we had here mere rhetorical devices and style recipes.’
      • ‘How can the highest aspirations of verse be linked to such rhetorical devices?’
  • 3A drawing or design.

    ‘the decorative device on the invitations’
    • ‘He had a taste for popular decorative devices, such as fruit, flowers, and brocades, which resulted in a curious and engaging blend of naivety and sophistication.’
    • ‘The superior canines of the adult bear were extracted, probably for use as decorative devices.’
    1. 3.1An emblematic or heraldic design.
      ‘their shields bear the device of the Blazing Sun’
      • ‘If a hallmark on a spoon is so worn you can't make it out, which side bears the heraldic device could give a clue to its date.’
      • ‘He chose the Corbinian Bear as an heraldic device for his papal coat of arms.’
      • ‘In elite society, aristocratic funerary sculpture quickly replaced religious imagery with heraldic and symbolic devices.’
      • ‘In the center of each diamond was a small shield with what I took to be a heraldic device painted on it.’
      • ‘The significance of this unique sculpture is uncertain but a heraldic device of the ruling elite or an aniconic symbol of a protecting deity are possibilities.’
      • ‘Heraldic devices were by far the most popular motifs.’
      • ‘The heraldic devices are the least subtle aspect of the window.’
      • ‘This shield is distinct in scale, materials, and technique from the other heraldic devices in this window.’
      • ‘The device is heraldic again, but it also protects the galleried space from excessive insolation.’
      • ‘Heraldic devices shifted from the surcoat to the material covering the plates, although armour of the third period was often decorated by etching and painting.’
      • ‘The Lord Lyon wrote to us a year ago saying that schools with heraldic devices should get in touch to check if they were allowed to use them.’
      • ‘For all of that it's not a bad place to live, and that flying standard, with its strange old heraldic devices is still serving its purpose.’
      • ‘After the conquest, local weavers added heraldic devices to their own decorative motifs.’
      • ‘He wore full plate-armor of unfinished black and his shield bore no device.’
      emblem, symbol, logo, badge, stamp, trademark, crest, insignia, coat of arms, escutcheon, seal, mark, figure, design, rune, logotype, logogram, monogram, hallmark, tag, motto, token, motif, colophon, ideogram
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    2. 3.2 archaic The design or look of something.
      ‘works of strange device’
      • ‘Her cave was stored with scrolls of strange device.’
      • ‘On its surface is a raised cross of beautiful device, by the side of whose shaft is a knight's sword.’



/dəˈvīs/ /dəˈvaɪs/


    leave someone to their own devices
    • Leave someone to do as they wish without supervision.

      ‘left to her own devices, Lucy wondered what she should do next’
      • ‘Bemused families said they were left to their own devices while Army personnel began controlled explosions.’
      • ‘Members of the community say they have been left to their own devices by law enforcement officials for many years, and are struggling between an instinctive resentment of police and a burgeoning sense of the size of the problem.’
      • ‘Nature magically stimulates children's imaginations; their level of inventiveness and ingenuity seems to explode when they are left to their own devices.’
      • ‘Things did pick up in the second half, with the best scenes between Marie, Ben and Pete as they are left to their own devices on the ward.’
      • ‘Brox realizes how difficult it will be for the schools the longer they are left to their own devices.’
      • ‘Stuck in the limbo of adolescence, too old to be tucked up in bed, too young to go down the pub, they are left to their own devices.’
      • ‘Without an institution to cling to, they are left to their own devices in all respects.’
      • ‘More than 300 Buddhists from Kent and Essex have been left to their own devices to worship at their own shrines at home or work.’
      • ‘I think if we were to turn the clock back, we wouldn't have left them to their own devices, more or less unsupervised, for three years, while they blithered and had their internal political machinations and so on.’
      • ‘After flip-flopping, he finally kicked them out on October 3, leaving them to their own devices.’


Middle English from Old French devis, based on Latin divis- ‘divided’, from the verb dividere. The original sense was ‘desire or intention’, found now only in leave someone to their own devices (which has become associated with device (sense 2)).