1. That which is devised, or formed by design; a contrivance; an invention; a project; a scheme; often, a scheme to deceive; a stratagem; an artifice. His device in against Babylon, to destroy it. (Jer. Li. 11) Their recent device of demanding benevolences. (Hallam) He disappointeth the devices of the crafty. (job v. 12)
2. Power of devising; invention; contrivance. I must have instruments of my own device. (Landor)
3. An emblematic design, generally consisting of one or more figures with a motto, used apart from heraldic bearings to denote the historical situation, the ambition, or the desire of the person adopting it. See Cognizance. Improperly, an heraldic bearing. Knights-errant used to distinguish themselves by devices on their shields. (Addison) A banner with this strange device – excelsior. (Longfellow)
4. Anything fancifully conceived.
5. A spectacle or show.
6. Opinion; decision.
Synonym: Contrivance, invention, design, scheme, project, stratagem, shift.
device, Contrivance. Device implies more of inventive power, and contrivance more of skill and dexterity in execution. A device usually has reference to something worked out for exhibition or show; a contrivance usually respects the arrangement or disposition of things with reference to securing some end. Devices were worn by knights-errant on their shields; contrivances are generally used to promote the practical convenience of life. The word device is often used in a bad sense; as, a crafty device; contrivance is almost always used in a good sense; as, a useful contrivance.
Origin: oe. Devis, devise, will, intention, opinion, invention, fr. F. Devis architects plan
and estimates (in OF, division, plan, wish), devise device (in sense 3), in OF. Also, division, wish, last will, fr. Deviser. See devise, and cf. Devise.