One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A worker who operates any of various machines called a devil to break up or open cotton or wool offcuts, to tear old rags to pieces, etc. Now historical.
2Any of various types of machine used to break up or open cotton or wool offcuts, to tear old rags to pieces, etc.
3Originally Law slang. A person employed to carry out research or other professional work for someone else, especially a lawyer or author.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Champion & Weekly Herald. From devil + -er.
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