de·​mon | \ ˈdē-mən How to pronounce demon (audio) \
variants: or
plural demons or daemons

Definition of demon

1a : 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 attendant entry 2 sense 1) power or spirit : genius
3 usually daemon, mythology : a supernatural being whose nature is intermediate between that of a god and that of a human being
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

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Other Words from demon

demonian \ di-​ˈmō-​nē-​ən How to pronounce demon (audio) \ adjective

Examples of demon in a Sentence

only in rare cases is the ancient rite of exorcism performed to cast out a troublesome demon a man who was finally able to conquer his demons and kick his drug habit
Recent Examples on the Web To young Black people, understandably, and tragically, the government is the demon. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | COLUMNISTS: We need the gift of reform," 27 Dec. 2020 The man who beat the demon now belongs to the stars. Sig Christenson, San Antonio Express-News, "Chuck Yeager, who dared the demon, now belongs to the stars," 23 Dec. 2020 It’s no speed demon, with its rear-axle, 150-kilowatt, 201-horsepower motor, but plenty fast for the vast majority of the target market. Los Angeles Times, "Review: The Volkswagen ID.4. Is this the car that makes electrics go mainstream?," 5 Dec. 2020 Gather round, wicked children (or curious adults), for the tale of Krampus, the European Christmas demon who's definitely not as holly jolly as old Saint Nick. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for December 7: Coronavirus, White House transition, marijuana, Venezuela, India," 7 Dec. 2020 The speed-demon is a hybrid plug-in that packs 986 horsepower, according to Bloomberg. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "As COVID cases spike, all eyes are on this streaming giant," 13 Nov. 2020 The Doom Slayer even has a compelling story and lore to go with the amazing, frenetic gameplay, which makes this demon-blasting good time even better. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The 2020 Game and Toy Awards," 4 Nov. 2020 Because the demon feeds on electrical juice, most of the sequences take place at night, in one setting, which offers Chase ample opportunity to elicit an evocative mood and tone, and some surprising spooks. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Come Play’ establishes its own rules and makes a connection," 29 Oct. 2020 Because the demon feeds on electrical juice, most of the sequences take place in one setting, at night, which offers Chase ample opportunity to elicit an evocative mood and tone, and some surprising spooks. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "‘Come Play’ builds relatable horror via smartphone app," 28 Oct. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of demon

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

History and Etymology for 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 daíomai, daíesthai "to divide, allocate" + -mōn, deverbal noun and adjective suffix — more at tide entry 1

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Time Traveler for demon

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for demon

Last Updated

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Demon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for demon


How to pronounce demon (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of demon

: an evil spirit
informal : a person who has a lot of energy or enthusiasm
: something that causes a person to have a lot of trouble or unhappiness


de·​mon | \ ˈdē-mən How to pronounce demon (audio) \

Kids Definition of demon

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

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