Adjective "devious" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


Showing a skilful use of underhand tactics to achieve goals.
  1. 'they have devious ways of making money'
  2. 'The Nazis saw the Jews and Poles as feminine races, achieving their goals through devious plots rather than masculine openness.'
  3. 'Sometimes it is necessary to adopt devious tactics to expose bullies and cheats.'
  4. 'The police continue to be secretive, devious and opaque - precisely when they ought to be transparent.'
  5. 'They are duplicitous and devious, always posing, not wishing or able to be authentic.'
  6. 'Never before has a devious little plan backfired so badly.'
  7. 'For bridge, all you need is a playing partner, a pair of opponents, a set of cards - and a capacity for wicked, devious cunning.'
  8. 'Women feature as sexually voracious, devious, and immoral, destroying men or diverting them from their pursuit of honour.'
  9. 'It would also, in a case like the present one, be to reward conduct which at best was devious and at worst deceitful.'
  10. 'They had somehow managed to re-elect the most devious, blinkered and reckless leader ever put before them.'
  11. 'This results in a personality which is cunning and devious, and refuses to grow up and take responsibility for itself.'
(of a route or journey) longer and less direct than the most straightforward way.
  1. 'What is difficult about maneuver is to make the devious route the most direct and to turn misfortune to advantage.'


1. departing from the most direct way; circuitous; indirect: a devious course.

2. without definite course; vagrant: a devious current.

3. departing from the proper or accepted way; roundabout: a devious procedure.

4. not straightforward; shifty or crooked: a devious scheme to acquire wealth.

More examples(as adjective)

"people can be devious with people."

"people can be devious."

"ways can be devious."

"minds can be devious."

"tactics can be devious."

More examples++


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’.