Bedevil is a word that I think is underused. Just think when your car won’t start, “My car is bedeviled!” Or, for a wicked boss: “My boss bedevils me with needless duties to make my life a living hell.” Perhaps the word is not used because, to a certain degree, it lacks seriousness. It feels a bit silly to blame our daily troubles on “the devil.” Does s/he care if I get to work on time? In the word’s other capacity, it seems fit only for horror–to possess, as with a devil. The only other circumstance I can think of its use is when a child’s parents don’t like his/her paramour.
Do you think some words loose their ‘bite’ over time? Can you think of any wicked words that have?