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I found answers on many web sites and they differed too much so I decided to ask the community.

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  • I call him the devil because he makes me wanna sin... Urban Dictionary

  • A good-looking cheeky fellow. Yahoo! answers

  • Symptoms of being a handsome devil include being good-looking, rich and a jerk. Often a playboy.
    TV Tropes

  • The very Devil, himself, is supposed to look amazingly-charming, and can attract almost any woman. Therefore, a guy who's " devilishly handsome / good-looking " is a man who looks so attractive, especially to the opposite sex, that the women swoon over him, in huge numbers. Yahoo! answers

  • It's a very common expression, used as a compliment of sorts. It is used to compliment someone, a man, but at the same time, usually to give a little jab, like saying "You're a handsome man, and you're very much aware of it. Word Reference

  • Thanks. They all say pretty much the same to me. Working on an answer ... – andy256 Aug 2 '14 at 2:13
  • @andy256 found 2 more links. Is it a good or bad thing? – SurvMach Aug 2 '14 at 2:20
  • I didn't see your update while I was writing my answer. The extra links are also saying much the same thing. Whenever anyone describes something in their own words there will be some differences between them. – andy256 Aug 2 '14 at 2:34
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    Good research! The references you found are pretty much accurate, there are slight variations on the theme but taken as a wholethey explain that a "handsome devil" is a man who is attractive and a bit of a scoundrel. – Mari-Lou A Aug 2 '14 at 5:22
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Urban Dictionary said

I call him the devil because he makes me wanna sin...

That Handsome devil sure knows how to make me mad yet, glad. I wanna push him off a cliff but then jump to save him.

Yahoo Answers said

... A good-looking cheeky fellow.

and

Handsome guy ... goodlooking Satan

The Wordreference thread confuses the issue.

The first two say pretty much the same. The guy is handsome; so handsome that other men acknowledge it. The Devil part of the expression, when said by a man, can indicate some envy of this guy.

He is so handsome that women find him to be an instant temptation. If they are already involved in another relationship, then they may see him as an invitation to sin. Some can find him hard to resist.

But he also knows all that. So he flaunts it, and perhaps teases women with it, enjoying the effect on others. Some people might call that behavior cheeky.

Hope that helps.

  • it's subtle, in your opinion is it a good or a bad thing? – SurvMach Aug 2 '14 at 2:46
  • Depends whether you're the handsome devil or not :-) But like any other thing, it depends on how it's used. – andy256 Aug 2 '14 at 2:56
  • let's hope it's a good thing – SurvMach Aug 2 '14 at 2:58
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A handsome devil is charming and good-looking, but with connotations of danger and mischief. The idea is that his good looks are a warning sign. However, it's usually used playfully or flirtatiously.

  • Good point that it's usually used playfully or flirtatiously. – andy256 Aug 2 '14 at 2:35
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    Think rogue, but in a vaguely positive way. Han Solo comes to mind. – Jolenealaska Aug 2 '14 at 2:37
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Devils, traditionally, tempted people into sin, placing their souls at risk. A handsome devil was a devil in a pleasing form, that one might not recognise as a devil. Euphemistically, a good looking or charming person, with hidden dark motives could be called a "handsome devil".

Over time the evilness aspect of the "handsome devil" has been watered down greatly, so that one wouldn't use it to refer to a person who was actually, seriously "evil". It's mostly used for playful references to attractive men who might tempt one to indulge in hedonistic pleasures (that might have once been widely regarded as "sinful"). However it can still be used to refer a superficially attractive person who manipulates others for his self interest through charm - in a way that disparages their ethics but begrudgingly acknowledges their appeal.

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