an·gel | \ ˈān-jəl \

Definition of angel 

1a : a spiritual being superior to humans in power and intelligence especially : one in the lowest rank in the celestial hierarchy

b angels plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy

2 : an attendant spirit or guardian guardian angels who watch over us

3 : a usually white-robed winged figure of human form in fine art

4 : messenger, harbinger an angel of death

5 : a person who is like an angel (as in looks or behavior) Your son is such an angel. She's no angel. Be an angel and get me a cup of tea, would you?

6 Christian Science : inspiration from God

7 : one (such as a backer of a theatrical venture) who aids or supports with money or influence Angels funded the start-up company.

8 : angelfish

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from angel

angelic \an-ˈje-lik \ or angelical \-li-kəl \ adjective
angelically \-li-k(ə-)lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for angel


dove, innocent, lamb, sheep



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of angel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Cash’s shoulders are stooped with the weight of his angel, Detroit, on one side and Lift, the devil CEO, on the other, and Stanfield, one senses, is sizing up stardom with the same hungry, humorous, haunted eyes. Ty Burr,, "Why we should be thankful for ‘Sorry to Bother You’," 11 July 2018 Drugs and alcohol have been romanticized and vilified, shattering the glamorous and unheralded alike, cautionary tales with echoes of the familiar, leading to the glimmer of recovery or the demise of our better angels. Jeffrey Fleishman,, "Director Gus Van Sant continues his longtime exploration of addiction and recovery with 'Don’t Worry'," 6 July 2018 Petplan, an insurance company, estimates that pet parents dropped $62 million in 2011 on plastic surgery for their little angels. Peter Haldeman, New York Times, "The Secret Price of Pets," 4 July 2018 The slow voice of its angel hissing breathless: No. Safiya Sinclair, The New Yorker, "Gospel of the Misunderstood," 21 June 2018 Join us in telling the stories of our better angels. Crocker Stephenson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Better Angels: An officer's quiet gift, and a patient's poignant farewell," 9 May 2018 Over the years, more than 1,000 children have been touched by programs instituted by Powell and her angels. Mary Jane Brewer,, "Making a difference is what life is all about for Michelle Powell: Medina Local Legends," 7 May 2018 Was Wilson a tragic figure, unjustly punished for his vision of a world governed by its better angels? Richard Norton Smith, WSJ, "‘The Moralist’ Review: The High and Rocky Road," 19 Apr. 2018 God takes your angel sometimes and takes them away from you. Olivia Ingle, The Seattle Times, "Barber owns Jasper shop 47 years, says he ‘laughs all day’," 10 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'angel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of angel

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for angel

Middle English, from Old English engel & Anglo-French angele; both from Late Latin angelus, from Greek angelos, literally, messenger

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about angel

Statistics for angel

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for angel

The first known use of angel was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for angel



English Language Learners Definition of angel

: a spiritual being that serves especially as a messenger from God or as a guardian of human beings

: a person (such as a child) who is very good, kind, beautiful, etc.


an·gel | \ ˈān-jəl \

Kids Definition of angel

1 : a spiritual being serving God especially as a messenger

2 : a person who is very good, kind, or beautiful

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on angel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for angel

Spanish Central: Translation of angel

Nglish: Translation of angel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of angel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about angel

Comments on angel

What made you want to look up angel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!