an·​gel | \ ˈān-jəl How to pronounce angel (audio) \
plural angels

Definition of angel

1a religion : a spiritual being serving as a divine messenger and intermediary and often as a special protector of an individual or nation especially : one in the lowest rank in the celestial hierarchy — see also guardian angel
b angels plural, religion : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
c(1) : an attendant usually benevolent spirit or guardian often used without implication of belief in its supernatural character "A putting angel must have come to me during the night because I felt great today and every putt I hit was a great putt," he [Paul McGinley] said.— Nelson Clare
(2) : the part of a person's character or nature that is said to guide the person's thoughts and behavior … here was [Lyndon] Johnson charging straight at a problem, telling his fellow citizens an ugly truth about themselves while trying to invoke the better angels of their nature.— Kevin Baker [Lamar] Alexander concluded: "In his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln appealed to the better angels of our nature. If there are better angels of our nature, I guess that means there must be worse angels in us as well. …"Congressional Documents and Publications
2 : a usually white-robed winged figure of human form in fine art — see also snow angel
3 : messenger, harbinger an angel of death The dear good angel of the Spring, / The nightingale.— Ben Jonson
4 : a person who is like an angel (as in looks or behavior) Your toddler is such an angel. Be an angel and get me a cup of tea, would you? Childs is no angel either, and that gives his book its drama.— George Johnson
5 Christian Science : inspiration from God
6 : one who aids or supports with money or influence Angels are considered one of the oldest sources of capital for start-up entrepreneurs; the term itself, by most accounts, comes from the affluent patrons who used to finance Broadway plays in the early twentieth century.— Colleen Debaise Typically, angel investors put up anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 to back a young start-up, and can fund as many as 10 companies at any given time.— Michael B. Farrell
7 : angelfish

Synonyms & Antonyms for angel



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Examples of angel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ann, who had been baptized at the hospital, was laid to rest under a simple gravestone that featured an engraving of an angel and a lamb. oregonlive, 23 Feb. 2021 Adhere wings with double sided tape to back of the angel’s body. Katie Bowlby, Country Living, 25 Nov. 2020 The sculpture of an angel with his shoulders slumped and head hanging disconsolately is especially poignant because its creator, Roman Shustrov, himself died of the virus in May 2020. Fox News, 15 Oct. 2021 The most hands-on of the three funders, Indify, likens itself to an angel investing platform. Kristin Robinson, Billboard, 25 Oct. 2021 Freaking stunning angel earth fairy mermaid star seed!!!! Chaise Sanders, Country Living, 23 Oct. 2021 The rest of the evening is a plush experience — complete with nuns’ tummies and angel’s double chins. Rick Steves,, 21 Oct. 2021 Still, most of the boutique firms and angel syndicates that make up the majority of the early-stage venture ecosystem have yet to catch on. Ismael Hishon-rezaizadeh, Forbes, 20 Oct. 2021 Needless to say, this former angel is keeping busy. Samantha Highfill,, 8 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'angel.' 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 angel

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

History and Etymology for angel

Middle English, from Old English engel & Anglo-French angele; both from Late Latin angelus, from Greek angelos, literally, messenger

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Time Traveler for angel

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near angel



angel's hair

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Statistics for angel

Last Updated

26 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Angel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for angel



English Language Learners Definition of angel

: a spiritual being that serves especially as a messenger from God or as a guardian of human beings
: a person (such as a child) who is very good, kind, beautiful, etc.


an·​gel | \ ˈān-jəl How to pronounce angel (audio) \

Kids Definition of angel

1 : a spiritual being serving God especially as a messenger
2 : a person who is very good, kind, or beautiful

More from Merriam-Webster on angel

Nglish: Translation of angel for Spanish Speakers

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


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