1. departing from the most direct way; circuitous; indirect: a devious course.
  2. without definite course; vagrant: a devious current.
  3. departing from the proper or accepted way; roundabout: a devious procedure.
  4. not straightforward; shifty or crooked: a devious scheme to acquire wealth.


  1. not sincere or candid; deceitful; underhand
  2. (of a route or course of action) rambling; indirect; roundabout
  3. going astray from a proper or accepted way; erring

1590s, “out of the way,” from Latin devius “out of the way, remote, off the main road,” from de via (see deviate). Originally in the Latin literal sense; figurative sense of “deceitful” is first recorded 1630s. Related: Deviously; deviousness. Figurative senses of the Latin word were “retired, sequestered, wandering in the byways, foolish, inconsistent.”

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