the devil is in the detail

the devil is in the detail


  • It means that when you do not concentrate on the details of something you may run into unexpected problems
  • Problems on large projects can often be attributed to small mistakes that were overlooked

Example Sentences

  1. “Have you seen my beautiful new bag? I paid a fortune for it.”
    “Really? It is a fake. The stitching of the original bags is blue, not green.”
    “How disappointing. I guess the devil is in the details.”
  2. You need to make sure that your lawyer reads the contracts very carefully. The devil is in the details.


The original phrase was “God is in the details.” This meant that you needed to ensure that everything you did was done truthfully. The devil is in the details is a variation of the original phrase.

There are numerous stories regarding where the phrase originated from. One being Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, a German philosopher and poet (1844 – 1900.) He was quoted as saying “Der Teufel stecktim Detail” which translates to “the devil is in the details.”

Another being a German architect called Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880.) He was often quoted as saying “God is in the details.”

Even with copious research, we were unable to find the first published version of the idiom.


T 3 Thoughts

3 Thoughts

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is a German architect who’s widely crediting with saying “God is in the details”.

- Anonymous July 7, 2022

Gustave (with an ‘e’) Flaubert was a French novelist. He wrote “Madame Bovary”, “Salammbo” & “Sentimental Education”, amongst others.

- Garreth March 29, 2021

Gustav Flaubert is a French novelist who is thought to have used the phrase. Mies Van der Rohe is the architect who popularized it

- Anonymous November 12, 2020

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