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Difference between Be a devil and Be the very devil

be a devil

1. (imper.) is used as a humorous expression of encouragement to persuade a person to do smth.:

  • Be a devil and order us a bottle of wine!

2. be extremely bad or immoral:

  • He was a devil to those of us who thought the war was stupid and pointless. He personified the arbitrary power of the draft…

be the very devil1. (also: be the devil incarnate) = be a devil 2:

  • Though he was a hero to some, he was the very devil to others.

2. (of a situation) be very difficult or annoying:

  • My car is super to drive, but it’s so big it’s the very devil to find a parking place for it.