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

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 Payne switched the setting from New Jersey to Nebraska, rewrote the ending and made Tracy more of a demon. Tom Perrotta, New York Times, 31 May 2022 Jacob's character, Kane, debuted as a crimson, masked and mute demon who was half-brothers with fan-favorite superstar The Undertaker. Fox News, 7 June 2022 Yet another sinner is crucified on an enormous harp about to be plucked by a demon whose body resembles a tree. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 May 2022 The Zar trans religious ceremony, which uses drumming and dancing to cure an illness thought to be caused by a demon, is most prominent in southern Egypt and is practiced further south into the Sudan, though it may be performed anywhere in Egypt. Nic Robertson, CNN, 29 Apr. 2022 An pack of intrepid wizards will duel against a tiny blue speed demon to lead domestic box office charts. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 13 Apr. 2022 The unusual teen meets a deceased couple and a demon, too — her life is changed almost instantaneously. Sofia Krusmark, The Arizona Republic, 11 Apr. 2022 Needless to say, the turtle—a speed demon by comparison—was able to move out of the way in time. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 17 Mar. 2022 News spread throughout Japanese social media outlets last Monday that a famous rock rumored to contain a demon has split in two. Dieynaba Young, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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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

26 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Demon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for demon


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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