I am under the impression that few words have perfect synonyms that are interchangeable in all contexts considering their different connotations or literal meanings. Is there a difference between Devoid and Bereft? For example, in the famous Monty Python "Dead Parrot" sketch, the parrot is said to be "...bereft of life-it rests in peace!" Could devoid work in that sentence?
The usual connotation of devoid is that a normally-expected, or even possibly-expected, thing or quality is missing:
I looked out over the hills, but they were completely devoid of motion: not so much as a blade of grass stirred.
The usual connotation of bereft is that a normally-expected thing or quality has been removed:
After his revelation, I sat there with my mouth agape, bereft of speech.
To me, then, a parrot that is devoid of life would be a manufactured, artificial animal that was never alive; a parrot that is bereft of life is one that was alive at one point but is now deceased, passed on, gone to meet its maker, shuffled off its mortal coil, crossed over the great divide, and so forth.
"Bereft" can be applied to people with roughly the same sense as "bereaved" (in this sense, it can stand alone and does not have to take an adjective complement); "devoid" can't be used this way.
(of a person) sad and lonely because you have lost something
- He was utterly bereft when his wife died.
- The shock of his departure had left her feeling alone and bereft.