bedevil

To bedevil is to "be" a bit like a "devil." To bedevil means to cause trouble, or, when talking about a person, to torment or harass.

Bedevil has nothing to do with the eggs you eat on a picnic. Those are just plain deviled. And although, in the 1570s, bedeviled could be taken to mean literally "possessed," the word no longer involves an actual devil, either. It just applies to people or things that make trouble like a devil would want to do.

Definitions of bedevil
  1. verb
    be confusing or perplexing to; cause to be unable to think clearly
    synonyms: befuddle, confound, confuse, discombobulate, fox, fuddle, throw
    confuse, disconcert, flurry, put off
    cause to feel embarrassment
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    types:
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    demoralize
    confuse or put into disorder
    amaze, baffle, beat, bewilder, dumbfound, flummox, get, gravel, mystify, nonplus, perplex, pose, puzzle, stick, stupefy, vex
    be a mystery or bewildering to
    disorient, disorientate
    cause to be lost or disoriented
    mix up, stump
    cause to be perplexed or confounded
    riddle
    set a difficult problem or riddle
    elude, escape
    be incomprehensible to; escape understanding by
    type of:
    be
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  2. verb
    treat cruelly
    synonyms: crucify, dun, frustrate, rag, torment
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    madden
    drive up the wall; go on someone's nerves
    hamstring
    make ineffective or powerless
    badger, beleaguer, bug, pester, tease
    annoy persistently
    oppress, persecute
    cause to suffer
    purge
    oust politically
    type of:
    beset, chevvy, chevy, chivvy, chivy, harass, harry, hassle, molest, plague, provoke
    annoy continually or chronically
Commonly confused words

Vocabulary Shout-Out: Scott Shane for "Bedeviled"

In chronicling WikiLeaks' involvement in the unfolding Edward J. Snowden affair, Scott Shane made use of the word bedevil.

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Word Family