To devise is to figure out a plan. Men twirling long mustaches might devise a plan to tie someone to the railroad tracks.

To devise a plan is more than just making one; there's a lot of figuring out to do, such as: "Phoebe devised a bus route that picked up kids in alphabetical order." There's a method to the madness of devising. The chemistry class devised a plan to make the fire alarm go off. Devise can be positive, too, meaning to find a creative solution: "The design team devised a plan to make the trailer home look like a medieval castle."

Definitions of devise
  1. verb
    arrange by systematic planning and united effort
    devise a plan to take over the director's office”
    synonyms: get up, machinate, organise, organize, prepare
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    mount, put on
    prepare and supply with the necessary equipment for execution or performance
    prepare or position for action or operation
    set up
    begin, or enable someone else to begin, a venture by providing the means, logistics, etc.
    make into a sandwich
    prepare for eating if or as if a spatchcock
    prepare for battle or conflict
    rerun a performance of a play, for example
    type of:
    initiate, pioneer
    take the lead or initiative in; participate in the development of
  2. verb
    come up with (an idea, plan, explanation, theory, or principle) after a mental effort
    synonyms: contrive, excogitate, forge, formulate, invent
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    type of:
    create by mental act, create mentally
    create mentally and abstractly rather than with one's hands
  3. verb
    give by will, especially real property
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    type of:
    bequeath, leave, will
    leave or give by will after one's death
  4. noun
    (law) a gift of real property by will
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    type of:
    heritage, inheritance
    that which is inherited; a title or property or estate that passes by law to the heir on the death of the owner
    something acquired without compensation
  5. noun
    a will disposing of real property
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    type of:
    testament, will
    a legal document declaring a person's wishes regarding the disposal of their property when they die
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