noun de·mon \ ˈdē-mən \
variants: or
Updated on: 17 Mar 2018

Definition of demon

plural demons
1 a : an evil spirit
  • angels and demons
b : a source or agent of evil, harm, distress, or ruin
  • the demons of drug and alcohol addiction
  • confronting the demons of his childhood
2 usually daemon : an attendant (see 2attendant 1) power or spirit : genius
3 usually daemon , mythology : a supernatural being intermediate between gods and men
4 : one that has exceptional enthusiasm, drive, or effectiveness
  • a demon for work
  • Doug, putting like a demon, had birdies on the third and sixth …
  • —Fred Tupper
5 daemon : a software program or process that runs in the background
  • A mailer daemon installed on an e-mail system can respond to a piece of incorrectly addressed e-mail by generating an automated message to the sender that the message was undeliverable.
  • —J. D. Biersdorfer


play \di-ˈmō-nē-ən\ adjective


play \ˌdē-mə-nə-ˈzā-shən\ noun


play \ˈdē-mə-ˌnīz\ transitive verb

Examples of demon in a Sentence

  1. only in rare cases is the ancient rite of exorcism performed to cast out a troublesome demon

  2. a man who was finally able to conquer his demons and kick his drug habit

Recent Examples of demon from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of demon

Middle English, "evil spirit," borrowed from Late Latin daemōn "evil spirit, pagan deity, idol," going back to Latin, "supernatural being, spirit intermediate between humans and gods," borrowed from Greek daimon-, daímōn "superhuman power, variably evil or beneficent, intervening in human affairs, fate" (Homeric), "personal spirit, bringing luck or ill, that accompanies an individual," "spirit intermediate between humans and gods" (Plato), "evil spirit" (New Testament), probably from dai-, stem of daísthetai "to divide, allocate" + -mōn, deverbal noun and adjective suffix — more at 1tide

DEMON Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of demon for English Language Learners

  • : an evil spirit

  • : a person who has a lot of energy or enthusiasm

  • : something that causes a person to have a lot of trouble or unhappiness

DEMON Defined for Kids


noun de·mon \ ˈdē-mən \

Definition of demon for Students

1 : an evil spirit : devil
2 : a person of great energy or enthusiasm
  • a speed demon

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to denote surfaces in relief on a map

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