Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 9, 2020 is:

devise • dih-VYZE  • verb

1 a : to form in the mind by new combinations or applications of ideas or principles : invent

b : to plan to obtain or bring about : plot

2 : to give (real estate) by will


The author’s childhood home was devised to the city, and the Historical Commission will turn it into a museum devoted to her life and her works of fantasy and science fiction.

“There are efforts to devise an FDA-approved method for diagnosing concussion, including new blood tests, advanced brain scans, and systems that use artificial intelligence to read them.” — Scott Eden, Men’s Health, 12 Dec. 2019

Did you know?

There’s something inventive about devise, a word that stems from Latin dividere, meaning “to divide.” By the time devise began being used in early Middle English, its Anglo-French forebear deviser had accumulated an array of senses, including “divide,” “distribute,” “arrange,” “array,” “digest,” “order,” “plan,” “invent,” “contrive,” and “assign by will.” English adopted most of these and added some new senses over the course of time, such as “imagine,” “guess,” “pretend,” and “describe.” In modern use, we’ve disposed of a lot of the old meanings, but we have kept the one that applies to wills; devise has traditionally referred to the transfer of real property (land), and bequeath to personal property. These days, this devise is most often recognized as applying generally to all the property in a person’s estate.

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