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demon definition

Overview

This page has 26 definitions of demon with English translations in 8 languages. Demon is a noun. Examples of how to use demon in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: démon, dēmon, dêmon, demön, and Demon

English demon definition

Saint Anthony being tormented by demons in The Torment of Saint Anthony, by Michelangelo (c. 1487).

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Middle English demon, a borrowing from Medieval Latin dēmōn, daemōn (lar, familiar spirit, guardian spirit), from Ancient Greek δαίμων (daímōn, dispenser, god, protective spirit). Doublet of daimon.

Pronunciation

Noun

demon (plural demons)

  1. An evil supernatural spirit.
    1. An evil spirit resident in or working for Hell; a devil. [from 10th c.]
    2. (now chiefly historical) A false god or idol; a Satanic divinity. [from 10th c.]
    3. A very wicked or malevolent person; also (in weakened sense) a mischievous person, especially a child. [from 16th c.]
    4. A source (especially personified) of great evil or wickedness; a destructive feeling or character flaw. [from 17th c.]
      The demon of stupidity haunts me whenever I open my mouth.
    5. (in the plural) A person's fears or anxieties. [from 19th c.]
      • 2013, The Guardian, 21 January:
        After a short spell on an adult psychiatric ward, she decided to find her own way to deal with her demons.
  2. A neutral supernatural spirit.
    1. A person's inner spirit or genius; a guiding or creative impulse. [from 14th c.]
      • 1616, William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, II.3:
        Oh Anthony […] Thy Dæmon that thy spirit which keepes thee, is Noble, Couragious, high vnmatchable.
      • 2000, Phillip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass:
        “You saw her. And I picked her up,” Lyra said, blushing, because of course it was a gross violation of manners to touch something so private as someone else's dæmon.
    2. (Greek mythology) A tutelary deity or spirit intermediate between the major Olympian gods and mankind, especially a deified hero or the entity which supposedly guided Socrates, telling him what not to do. [from 16th c.]
    3. A spirit not considered to be inherently evil; a (non-Christian) deity or supernatural being. [from 19th c.]
    4. An hypothetical entity with special abilities postulated for the sake of a thought experiment in philosophy or physics.
      • 1874, William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, “Kinetic Theory of the Dissipation of Energy” in Nature 9, 441-444:
        Let the orders now be that each demon is to stop all molecules from crossing his area in either direction except 100 coming from A, arbitrarily chosen to be let pass into B, and a greater number, having among them less energy but equal momentum, to cross from B to A.
  3. Someone with great strength, passion or skill for a particular activity, pursuit etc.; an enthusiast. [from 19th c.]
    He’s a demon at the card tables.
    • 2021 May 29, David Hytner, “Chelsea win Champions League after Kai Havertz stuns Manchester City”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Chelsea defended like demons to snuff out Manchester City but this was a perfectly calibrated triumph, built upon a structured attacking approach, choosing the right moments to transition, and illuminated by the smoothness of Havertz’s technique.
  4. (Britain, card games) A form of patience (known as Canfield in the US). [from 19th c.]
    • 1924, EM Forster, A Passage to India, Penguin 2005, p. 89:
      ‘That's much the best feeling to have.’ She dealt out the first row of ‘demon’.
  5. Any of various hesperiid butterflies of the genera Notocrypta and Udaspes.

Usage notes

Meanings drawing on the neutral, ancient Greek conception now often distinguish themselves by the variant spellings daimon or daemon.

Synonyms

Hyponyms

Related terms

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Anagrams


Dutch demon definition

Etymology

From Latin daemon (lar, genius, guardian spirit), from Ancient Greek δαίμων (daímōn, dispenser, god, protective spirit). This etymology is incomplete. You can help Wiktionary by elaborating on the origins of this term.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈdeː.mɔn/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: de‧mon

Noun

demon m (plural demonen or demons)

  1. genius, lar
  2. (uncommon) demon
    Synonyms: demoon, duivel

Finnish demon definition

Noun

demon

  1. Genitive singular form of demo.

Anagrams


Latin demon definition

Alternative forms

Pronunciation

Noun

dēmon m

  1. accusative singular of dēmos

Middle English demon definition

Etymology

From Medieval Latin dēmōn, daemōn, from Ancient Greek δαίμων (daímōn). Doublet of tyme (time).

Pronunciation

Noun

demon (plural demones)

  1. demon, devil, malicious spirit
  2. (rare) daimon, helpful spirit

Descendants

References


Norwegian Bokmål demon definition

Etymology

Borrowed from Ancient Greek δαίμων (daímōn).

Noun

demon m (definite singular demonen, indefinite plural demoner, definite plural demonene)

  1. a demon

Derived terms

Related terms

References


Norwegian Nynorsk demon definition

Etymology

Borrowed from Ancient Greek δαίμων (daímōn).

Noun

demon m (definite singular demonen, indefinite plural demonar, definite plural demonane)

  1. a demon

Derived terms

Related terms

References


Polish demon definition

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin daemon (lar, genius, guardian spirit), from Ancient Greek δαίμων (daímōn, dispenser, god, protective spirit).

Pronunciation

Noun

demon m anim

  1. demon

Declension

Derived terms


Romanian demon definition

Alternative forms

  • dimon (regional, Moldova)

Etymology

Borrowed from Greek δαίμονας (daímonas), partly through the intermediate of (South) Slavic *demonь. Compare also Aromanian demun.

Pronunciation

Noun

demon m (plural demoni)

  1. demon
  2. (figuratively) a despicable person

Declension

Synonyms

Antonyms

Related terms


Serbo-Croatian demon definition

Etymology

Borrowed from Greek δαίμονας (daímonas).

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /děmoːn/
  • Hyphenation: de‧mon

Noun

dèmōn m (Cyrillic spelling дѐмо̄н)

  1. demon

Declension

Derived terms