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 And Henry, whom Carax often frames looming over Anne like a giant demon of angry possibility, is the most seductive monster of them all. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 6 July 2021 And in congressional testimony weeks later, in July 2020, Barr tried and failed again to conjure the demon of massive voter fraud. Elie Honig, CNN, 28 June 2021 Due to the events of that fateful night, the Warrens become involved with the investigation into the demon's origins while chasing the exchange of an evil totem that takes them across state lines. Rosy Cordero,, 6 June 2021 It’s 1981, and the Warrens are summoned to assist in the exorcism of 8 year-old David, during which his older sister’s boyfriend, Arne (Ruairi O’Connor) demands the demon take him instead. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 5 June 2021 Based on a real-life murder trial, the movie opens with an exorcism of an 8-year-old in southern New England in 1981 that catapults the demon inside the child into the body of a family friend, Arne Johnson, who then later kills his landlord. Mark Kennedy, Detroit Free Press, 4 June 2021 Priests conducted rites of deliverance over the boy in summer and fall of 1980, when Johnson reportedly dared the demon. Jesse Leavenworth,, 2 June 2021 So Arne begs the demon to leave the boy alone and take him instead. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 2 June 2021 Ed suffers a serious heart attack as the demon slips into the body of the older sister’s boyfriend (Ruairi O'Connor). Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 1 June 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near demon

demolition derby


demon drink

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Last Updated

20 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Demon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for demon



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

More from Merriam-Webster on demon

Nglish: Translation of demon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of demon for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about demon


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