'Devise' or 'Device': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on July 21, 2023

If you need to know whether to use 'devise' or 'device,' you came to the right place!

Here is the short answer:

  • 'Devise' is a verb or noun that means a plot or plan to bring about something. 
  • 'Device' is a noun that means something devised or something with intricate parts that are put together to create something else. 

There is much more to learn about these terms. So, if you want to understand both comprehensively, read this entire guide.

The definitions, examples, and tips will help you remember what you learn and how to use these words correctly.

What is the Difference Between 'Devise' and 'Device?'

The most significant difference between these two terms is that the former is a verb that means to create a plan to accomplish a goal. But it is also a noun for the process of planning to attain something.

On the other hand, the latter is a noun for something that the creators devised to make or something that contains many intricate parts or components that the inventor plans to accomplish a specific product goal.

Typically, 'device' is used for electronic or mechanical objects that require extensive planning to create.

How to Use 'Devise' and 'Device'

You learned that 'devise' is a verb or rarely a noun and that 'device' is a noun.

But how do you know when to use them?  

Here are some usage tips that should help:

  • Use 'devise' to refer to something you come up with to accomplish a goal.

For example, you might say:

To win the competition, we will need to devise a foolproof plan.

  • Use 'device' to refer to something that takes planning and many components to create.

For example, I might say:

Please put all electronic devices in your bag for the duration of the tour. 

Definition of 'Devise': What Does 'Devise' Mean?

In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of 'devise' is a verb that means:

  • To combine many applications or ideas together to create something in the mind

It can also mean:

  • To imagine, conceive, or come up with an idea or concept
  • To convey property through a Will

It can also be a noun that means:

  • The act or process of giving property to someone else via a Will
  • A Last Will and Testament or the clause of a Will conveying property
  • Property obtained through a Will

Synonyms of 'Devise'

  • Concoct
  • Invent
  • Scheme
  • Construct
  • Manufacture
  • Conceive
  • Hatch
  • Formulate
  • Fabricate
  • Create
  • Dream
  • Envision

Definition of 'Device': What Does 'Device' Mean?

The same source defines 'device' as a noun meaning:

  • Something that someone devises

It can also mean:

  • Something contrived
  • Desire for something
  • An object with an elaborate, fanciful, or complex design
  • An onstage process to create a dramatical effect
  • An object created to serve a specific purpose or with special functionality

Synonyms of 'Device'

  • Scheme
  • Ruse
  • Ploy
  • Fetch
  • Play
  • Dodge
  • Fraud
  • Craft
  • Dupery
  • Fakery
  • Duplicity
  • Hoax
  • Shenanigans
  • Trickery
  • Front
  • Sham
  • Caper
  • Gimmick
  • Sleight
  • Artifice

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Devise' or 'Device'

Pronunciation is essential whether you are learning English as a second language or working on your writing skills. Knowing how to say words correctly gives you confidence and helps you to improve your word usage and grammar.

So, here is a quick pronunciation guide. 

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'devise':


Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'device':


As you can see, the pronunciations of these words are almost identical except for the last consonant sound. In 'devise,' the term sounds like it ends in z, while the term 'device' ends in the sound.

Sample Sentences Using 'Devise' and 'Device'

Now that you know how to define, use, and pronounce 'devise' or 'device,' read the sample sentences using the terms below.

They will teach you different ways to use the terms and help you remember what you learn.


  • Are you going to devise a plan for reaching out to borrowers who are in pre-foreclosure?
  • We are going to devise together to make our dreams a reality. All we have to do is stick with our plan.
  • Did you devise a scheme for us to follow for the chili cookoff this year?
  • Susie and Carl play practical jokes on us all the time. We have to devise a plan to get them back.
  • Let's devise a new product that helps you take care of your pets.
  • If you are going to devise the property for your children, ensure that your Will is in order.


  • This handheld device is helpful if you need to watch your carbohydrate or sugar intake.
  • The hostess handed the pager to the customer and told her she would seat her party as soon as the device buzzed.
  • The Apple iPhone is one of the most well-known devices in the world.
  • Unwavering confidence in yourself and a genuine desire to help others are necessary devices if you want to build a real estate empire.
  • Left to her own devices, she was ill-equipped to deal with the problems the previous owner passed on to her.
  • After the project to create a new device that treats diabetes failed, her mentor told her this too shall pass.

Final Review: When to Use 'Devise' or 'Device'

Hopefully, you understand the difference and how and when to use 'devise' or 'device' So, if you find yourself questioning which word is correct, you can always come back to this lesson for a quick review.

  • 'Devise' is a verb that means to come up with a plan to accomplish a specific goal.
  • 'Devise' can also be a noun that describes the process of planning, scheming, or concocting something.
  • 'Device' is a noun that most commonly describes an electronic gadget, like a phone, stylus, AirPods, or Airo.

Before you go, you should also check out some of the other confusing word posts here if you want to learn about other commonly misused terms. Each post contains useful information like grammar tips, meanings, definitions, pronunciations, and examples.

So, they are an excellent way to improve your writing skills and expand your vocabulary. You can also look up many terms to verify their meanings before you use them in important communications.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.