demi·​urge ˈde-mē-ˌərj How to pronounce demiurge (audio)
: a Platonic subordinate deity who fashions the sensible world in the light of eternal ideas
: a Gnostic subordinate deity who is the creator of the material world
: one that is an autonomous creative force or decisive power
demiurgic adjective
or less commonly demiurgical

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In the Platonic school of philosophy, the Demiurge is a deity who fashions the physical world in the light of eternal ideas. In the Timaeus, Plato credits the Demiurge with taking preexisting materials of chaos and arranging them in accordance with the models of eternal forms. Nowadays, the word demiurge can refer to the individual or group chiefly responsible for a creative idea, as in "the demiurge behind the new hit TV show." Demiurge derives, via Late Latin, from Greek dēmiourgos, meaning "artisan," or "one with special skill." The demi- part of the word comes from the Greek noun dēmos, meaning "people"; the second part comes from the word for worker, ergon. Despite its appearance, it is unrelated to the word urge.

Examples of demiurge in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As revealed in Jann Wenner’s new course correct of a memoir, Like a Rolling Stone, the music-magazine demiurge and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame co-founder appears to harbor some anger about Irving Azoff getting inducted into the Hall in 2020, the year after Wenner retired as chairman. Vulture, 13 Sep. 2022 The upshot is a channelling of sheer, visionary imagination, as if the artist were taking dictation from an unseen demiurge. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 4 July 2022 So maybe the simulator is a little bit like a demiurge. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 28 Jan. 2022 The demiurge behind Galactus, Uatu, the Silver Surfer, the Human Torch, and the Ultimate Nullifier was the story’s writer, Stan Lee. J. Hoberman, The New York Review of Books, 19 Aug. 2021 The second—and more influential—demiurge of the folk-music microcosm is Bob Dylan, who is also twenty-three. Mick Stevens, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2021 For explosive relief, head just down the hall at the Met to the concurrent, huge retrospective of the bohemian demiurge Alice Neel. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 5 July 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'demiurge.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Late Latin dēmiurgus, borrowed from Greek dēmiourgós, literally, "master of a craft, artisan" (Homeric dēmioergós "one skilled in an art or craft that benefits the community"), contraction of *dēmioworgos, from dḗmios "of the people, public" (adjective derivative of dêmos "people") + *-worgos, ablaut derivative of Indo-European *u̯erǵ- "make, bring about" (whence, as a nominal derivative, Greek érgon "work") — more at demo-, work entry 1

First Known Use

1840, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of demiurge was in 1840


Dictionary Entries Near demiurge

Cite this Entry

“Demiurge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

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