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 (dĕv′əl-trē) or dev·il·ry (-əl-rē)
n. pl. dev·il·tries or dev·il·ries
1. Reckless mischief.
2. Extreme cruelty; wickedness.
3. Evil magic; witchcraft.
4. An act of mischief, cruelty, or witchcraft.

[Alteration (influenced by such words as gallantry) of devilry.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈdɛv əl tri)

n., pl. -tries.
1. mischievous behavior.
2. extreme or utter wickedness.
3. an act or instance of mischievous or wicked behavior.
4. diabolic magic or art.
[1780–90; variant of devilry]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.deviltry - wicked and cruel behavior
evil, wickedness, immorality, iniquity - morally objectionable behavior
2.deviltry - reckless or malicious behavior that causes discomfort or annoyance in othersdeviltry - reckless or malicious behavior that causes discomfort or annoyance in others
misbehavior, misbehaviour, misdeed - improper or wicked or immoral behavior
blaze, hell - noisy and unrestrained mischief; "raising blazes"
monkey business - mischievous or deceitful behavior
hooliganism, malicious mischief, vandalism - willful wanton and malicious destruction of the property of others
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. Annoying yet harmless, usually playful acts:
Informal: shenanigan (often used in plural).
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
The greatest schemer of all time, the organizer of every deviltry, the controlling brain of the underworld, a brain which might have made or marred the destiny of nations--that's the man!
Some deviltry is intended against one Douglas, whoever he may be, residing as stated, a rich country gentleman.
They tell me that some of our community are to be here from Falmouth and beyond, and others from Connecticut and Rhode Island, besides several of the Indian powwows, who, after their fashion, know almost as much deviltry as the best of us.
Think not to frighten me with your deviltry. Come witch, come wizard, come Indian powwow, come devil himself, and here comes Goodman Brown.
Back in West Kensington a rich smell of dinner would be floating through the flat; the cook, watching the boiling cabbage, would be singing A Few More Years Shall Roll; her mother would be sighing; and her little brother Percy would be employed upon some juvenile deviltry, the exact nature of which it was not possible to conjecture, though one could be certain that it would be something involving a deafening noise.
We judged they was studying up some kind of worse deviltry than ever.
He was half hidden by a davit, so that two men who approached along the deck did not see him, and as they passed Tarzan caught enough of their conversation to cause him to fall in behind them, to follow and learn what deviltry they were up to.
The mean and low, yet strangely man-like expression of his wilted countenance; the prying and crafty glance, that showed him ready to gripe at every miserable advantage; his enormous tail (too enormous to be decently concealed under his gabardine), and the deviltry of nature which it betokened,--take this monkey just as he was, in short, and you could desire no better image of the Mammon of copper coin, symbolizing the grossest form of the love of money.
When it don't go astray for a long time, they get suspicious and throttle it anyhow, because they think it is hatching deviltry. Imagine the Grand Vizier in solemn council with the magnates of the realm, spelling his way through the hated newspaper, and finally delivering his profound decision: "This thing means mischief --it is too darkly, too suspiciously inoffensive--suppress it!
It's also funny as hell and a true big-screen treat.' Rolling Stone's Peter Travers raves, 'Lanthimos' renegade deviltry turns a period piece into a bawdy, brilliant triumph.'
It commences with an eloquent speech about "400 years of European and American deviltry, oppression and racism, culminating in their current attempt to overthrow the present free government of Songhay" (64).
"The mind, Jack," the old man went on, "I never before thought it had such wonderful power, [sic] But I resolved to live until I had unravelled the web of deviltry which, as I have told you, I providentially got the clue of; I determined that I would last till this revelation could be made--was made.