One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A diabolical act, practice, institution, or invention. Also: the influence or control of the Devil or a devil; the exercise or invocation of diabolical power; bewitchment; devilry.
2The domain of the Devil or a devil; the realm of devils; hell; (also) the collective inhabitants of hell. In extended use: an evil state or regime. Now rare.
3The state or condition of being a devil.
Late 17th century; earliest use found in Samuel Johnson (1649–1703), Church of England clergyman and pamphleteer. From devil + -dom.
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