Definition of devise in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Plan or invent (a complex procedure, system, or mechanism) by careful thought.

    ‘a training program should be devised’
    ‘a complicated game of his own devising’
    • ‘We make laws for the comfort of foreign investors; but are we slipping in devising a system for our own people?’
    • ‘How might we devise a system that offers students a second chance but that doesn't obfuscate reality or entice students to drop out?’
    • ‘What is needed is for the industry to come together to devise a planned economy which benefits everyone, from owners to grooms, from racecourses to sponsors, from trainers to the bookmakers.’
    • ‘Third, it provides an opportunity for effective user involvement, as the patients assist in devising their own care plan.’
    • ‘Nor do you devise names for our real estate projects.’
    • ‘We have found the Report useful in devising the guidelines.’
    • ‘I proposed that an attempt be made to bring the two images closer and to devise mechanisms by which this rapprochement could be achieved.’
    • ‘This information was also intended to help provide the basis for devising policies for making reparation.’
    • ‘Granby had to devise a system to help the identification of the individual face and associate the first person to recognise it as the winner immediately.’
    • ‘When I was in my teens, my dad was working on devising his own system for blackjack.’
    • ‘The Red Cross says it's devising new systems so that such fraud will be easier to detect in the future.’
    • ‘At the turn of the century, France produced most of the quality wine in the world, so it is no surprise that they were first to devise a system of protection.’
    • ‘We are also devising strategies to produce medicines from urine.’
    • ‘Riley devised a system for making a piece of music based on 53 small melodic cells.’
    • ‘If someone had set about devising a system to kill off the market in non-executive directors, they couldn't have trumped this effort.’
    • ‘To make things interesting, Damo suggested I devise a scoring system that awards points for certain achievements.’
    • ‘The sheer scale of the plans devised by this team required the support of thousands of service personnel and civilians.’
    • ‘It surely can't be beyond the wit of 21st century man to devise swipecard systems that allow the identity of those receiving free meals to remain anonymous.’
    • ‘The definition of business assets has changed since the system was devised.’
    • ‘Another system that devises methods to avoid errors is user-centered design.’
    conceive, think up, come up with, dream up, draw up, work out, form, formulate, concoct, design, frame, invent, coin, originate, compose, construct, fabricate, create, produce, put together, make up, develop, evolve
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  • 2Law
    Leave (real estate) to someone by the terms of a will.

    • ‘All the residue of my estate, including real and personal property, I give, devise, and bequeath to Earlham College.’
    • ‘All persons of sound mind are competent to bequeath and devise real and personal estate, excepting infants and married women.’
    leave, leave in one's will, will, make over, pass on, hand on, hand down, cede, consign, commit, entrust, grant, transfer, convey
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  • A clause in a will leaving something, especially real estate, to someone.

    • ‘The issue, however, is whether the language of the devise of the Somerset Estate can fairly be interpreted so as to include the rights under the s. 2 reverter.’
    • ‘Transfers of real property by inheritance or devise are not subject to the real estate excise tax.’


Middle English: the verb from Old French deviser, from Latin divis- ‘divided’, from the verb dividere (this sense being reflected in the original English sense of the verb); the noun is a variant of device (in the early sense ‘will, desire’).