de·​mon ˈdē-mən How to pronounce demon (audio)
variants or daemon
plural demons or daemons
: an evil spirit
angels and demons
: a source or agent of evil, harm, distress, or ruin
the demons of drug and alcohol addiction
confronting the demons of his childhood
usually daemon : an attendant (see attendant entry 2 sense 1) power or spirit : genius
usually daemon mythology : a supernatural being whose nature is intermediate between that of a god and that of a human being
: 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
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
demonian 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 The story begins when Tanjiro Kamado, a boy whose family is killed by a demon, joins the Demon Slayer Corps to turn his younger sister Nezuko back into a human. Patrick Frater, Variety, 9 Apr. 2024 When the sun and the moon alert Vishnu to this deception, Vishnu decapitates the demon — the head becomes Rahu and the body becomes Ketu. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 5 Apr. 2024 From there, the man recounts the chilling story of his childhood, during which his father (Paxton) claimed to have been called upon by God to destroy demons walking the Earth in human form. Megan McCluskey, TIME, 5 Apr. 2024 Inhabiting this persona evidently helps her exorcize a few demons. Justin Chang, The New Yorker, 22 Mar. 2024 Those generational demons are something Brooke thinks about daily. Jayson Buford, Rolling Stone, 21 Mar. 2024 While the human drama plays out on the screen, Ollie, Gene and every other paramedic are fighting their own internal demons. Kaely Monahan, The Arizona Republic, 27 Mar. 2024 Sightings of the mythical Nain Rouge, a red hobgoblin or dwarf that appears on the eve of tragedy, date to Detroit's origin — and locals have reclaimed the spirit with an annual march to scare the demon away, according to tradition. Detroit Free Press, 24 Mar. 2024 However, my youngest expressed a momentary bout of fear while attempting to go to bed, about the film's main antagonist, Zuul—the creepy, dog-like demon with red-eyes who is a minion of the evil Gozer. Kristina Behr, Parents, 21 Mar. 2024

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near demon

Cite this Entry

“Demon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants or daemon
: an evil spirit
usually daemon : an accompanying power or spirit : genius
usually daemon : demigod sense 1
: one that has a lot of energy
a demon for work

More from Merriam-Webster on demon

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