The often used phrase “devil in the detail” derives from an earlier usage “God is in the details.” The original idea is simple a nostrum to point out that whatever is worth doing is worth doing completely. Get it right, by doing something thoroughly. Get all the details nailed down.
But there is a second meaning, which inspired the “devil” variation.
Buried deep in the details can be and often are words that can have huge consequences in the future. We all blithely ‘accept’ those small print ‘terms of service’ that flash on our computer screens, but those details often tie us to long-term commitments or severely limit our rights and the responsibilities of the companies we are giving our personal information and credit cards to.
The devil is indeed “in the details.” So, before you sign away your rights, take a moment (or ten) to read what you are signing. And on the other side of the coin, remember that a project, a proposal, a weekend plan is not done until you have filled in the details.
Unless, of course, you are a free spirit, who likes to go wherever the road leads you. In that case, don’t worry about the devilish details, but don’t blame us when you find yourself without a room at the Inn.