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 demonian (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 For the Wild, the shootout win helped them extend their season-long point streak to nine games, while exorcising some overtime demons in the process. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "Fitting Finnish: Wild captain Mikko Koivu plays hero in 1,000th career game," 1 Dec. 2019 Saturday was a day to exorcise demons, finishing the season of the sport’s most storied franchise. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "José Altuve's walkoff homer sends Astros to World Series," 19 Oct. 2019 In the finale, reformed demon Michael (Ted Danson) convinced Judge Gen (Maya Rudolph) to repeat the original experiment of S1 with four new humans, chosen by the Bad Place. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "TV Technica 2019: These were our favorite shows and binges this year," 28 Dec. 2019 Maybe that’s a warning not to look at that demon star for too long. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, "Skywatch: The hero of winter is on the rise," 17 Nov. 2019 Fearmongering televangelists like Jim Bakker and Robert Tilton sermonized that those who didn’t follow Jesus—and those who didn’t donate heavily to the church—would face demons and end times. Jennifer Swann, Marie Claire, "Will Worship for Likes," 6 Nov. 2019 Paranormal investigators will sometimes encounter people who report seeing demons or hearing voices. John Blake, CNN, "Ghost hunters say this is their biggest fear. And it has nothing to do with ghosts," 26 Oct. 2019 The group eventually settles on the eldest daughter as the source of both this demon and all their misfortunes. A.l., The Economist, "“The Lighthouse”: an engulfing dive into madness," 18 Oct. 2019 Through the years, brothers Sam (Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles of Dallas) have conquered demons and hell itself to save the world. Jeanne Jakle,, "San Antonio, Texas stars light up fall TV," 9 Oct. 2019

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 daísthetai "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

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Demon.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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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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Comments on demon

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


not to be intimidated or subdued

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