Definition of devious in English:

devious

adjective

  • 1Showing a skillful use of underhanded tactics to achieve goals.

    ‘he's as devious as a politician needs to be’
    ‘they have devious ways of making money’
    • ‘It just means that it's necessary to divorce what was said from the devious and somewhat desperate politician who was saying it.’
    • ‘The Nazis saw the Jews and Poles as feminine races, achieving their goals through devious plots rather than masculine openness.’
    • ‘This results in a personality which is cunning and devious, and refuses to grow up and take responsibility for itself.’
    • ‘The police continue to be secretive, devious and opaque - precisely when they ought to be transparent.’
    • ‘Instead of her being devious, duplicitous, and incompetent, perhaps she could answer the question.’
    • ‘For bridge, all you need is a playing partner, a pair of opponents, a set of cards - and a capacity for wicked, devious cunning.’
    • ‘It always seems to me a kind of spiteful and devious and underhanded sort of job.’
    • ‘These rules may seem stringent but lightning is a tricky, devious phenomenon.’
    • ‘They had somehow managed to re-elect the most devious, blinkered and reckless leader ever put before them.’
    • ‘They are duplicitous and devious, always posing, not wishing or able to be authentic.’
    • ‘It can only be the devious and underhand tactic of incorporating it in 90% of the world's web browsers.’
    • ‘That is the sort of devious, dodgy tactic this Government gets up to.’
    • ‘Sometimes it is necessary to adopt devious tactics to expose bullies and cheats.’
    • ‘It would also, in a case like the present one, be to reward conduct which at best was devious and at worst deceitful.’
    • ‘Thomas Jefferson was a tough, devious politician who viewed the states as supreme.’
    • ‘Women feature as sexually voracious, devious, and immoral, destroying men or diverting them from their pursuit of honour.’
    • ‘Never before has a devious little plan backfired so badly.’
    • ‘Cunning and devious, his story is not only poignant; it also makes for great entertainment!’
    • ‘They are little better than the smarmy, devious, dishonest and selfish Europeans.’
    • ‘They can be cunning and devious, but overall goblins are not very intelligent creatures.’
    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
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  • 2(of a route or journey) longer and less direct than the most straightforward way.

    ‘they arrived at the town by a devious route’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What is difficult about maneuver is to make the devious route the most direct and to turn misfortune to advantage.’
    circuitous, roundabout, indirect, meandering, winding, serpentine, tortuous, rambling
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Origin

Late 16th century: from Latin devius (from de- away from + via way) + -ous. The original sense was remote or sequestered; the later sense departing from the direct route gave rise to the figurative sense deviating from the straight way and hence skilled in underhanded tactics.

Pronunciation:

devious

/ˈdēvēəs/