General English


  • noun an object, especially mechanical or electrical, which has been made for a particular purpose


  • noun a small useful machine or piece of equipment


  • In an electrical system, a component that carries but does not consume electricity, such as a switch or a receptacle.


  • A physical unit or mechanism which performs a specific function or serves for a particular purpose. A device may be electrical, mechanical, electromechanical, and so on, and examples include, resistors, cable connectors, transistors, ICs, disk drives, and computers.
  • A hardware component or subsystem in a computer, such as a disk drive, keyboard, or port.
  • An electronic unit which incorporates one or more active components. For instance, a transistor, or an IC.
  • An active component, such as a transistor or an operational amplifier, which can not be subdivided without disabling its function.


  • noun an instrument or machine which performs a function


  • noun an ornamental design used by a publisher or printer as part of their logo

Origin & History of “device”

A device is something which has been devised – which, etymologically speaking, amounts to ‘something which has been divided’. For ultimately devise and divide come from the same source. The noun device comes in the first instance from Old French devis ‘division, contrivance’ and latterly (in the 15th century) from Old French devise ‘plan’, both of which were derivatives of the verb deviser ‘divide, devise’ (source of English devise (13th c.)). this in turn came from vulgar Latin *dīvisāre, a verb based on the past participial stem of Latin dīvidere, source of English divide. The semantic development by which ‘divide’ passed to ‘contrive’, presumably based on the notion that dividing something up and distributing it needs some planning, happened before the word reached English, and English device has never meant ‘division’. The sense ‘simple machine’ essentially evolved in the 16th century.