General English

  • noun a person



  • noun a quality of extra pace or ‘nip’, imparted to a ball by the bowler or deriving from the pitch, which makes the bowling dangerously effective
    Citation ‘A fairly long run up to the wickets … gives more impetus to the ball, and what is popularly known as “devil”’ (Badminton 1888)
    Citation ‘The ideal match is a match that does not last more than two days, where the wicket has got a bit of devil in it’ (Badminton 1888)


  • verb to cook or prepare a food with spicy seasonings


  • noun a junior barrister who does legal work for a more senior barrister as part of a private arrangement
  • noun a junior barrister undergoing a period of pupillage to a senior barrister, usually lasting one year
  • verb to act as a devil for a more senior barrister

Origin & History of “devil”

English acquired devil in the 8th century via late Latin diabolus from Greek diábolos, which originally meant ‘slanderer’. It was a derivative of diabállein ‘slander’, a compound verb literally meaning ‘throw across’, formed from diá ‘across’ and bállein ‘throw’ (whence English ballistics). The Greek word has reached most European languages: e.g. French diable, Italian diavolo, German teufel, Dutch duivel, Swedish djāvul, and Russian djavol. It has also given English diabolical (16th c.), and indeed diabolo (20th c.), a game played by spinning a top (named from a variant of Italian diavolo) on a string.