Definition of cherub in English:



  • 1A winged angelic being described in biblical tradition as attending on God, represented in ancient Middle Eastern art as a lion or bull with eagles' wings and a human face and regarded in traditional Christian angelology as an angel of the second highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy.

    • ‘If an image is automatically an idol, why did God tell Israel to have graven images of cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant?’
    • ‘Satan's disguise deceives Uriel, who thinks the cherub only wants to know about the new world God has created.’
    • ‘It's like hearing the cherubim and seraphim sing with Satan's own orchestra.’
    • ‘Ahead of him he saw the Sacred Veil upon which was embroidered two cherubim, male and female each embracing the other.’
    • ‘Scarcely anyone ever saw the ark, the cherubim, or the golden candlestick; they were always within the veil, and only once in the year did the high priest enter that sacred place.’
    • ‘The God who gallops through divine places with the cherubim and seraphim is the same God who changed the world order by simply standing up and walking out of the tomb.’
    • ‘And all the cherubim and seraphim sing ‘alleluia.’’
    • ‘From top to bottom, the celestial hierarchy includes seraphim, cherubim, thrones; dominions, virtues, powers; principalities, archangels, and angels.’
    • ‘Dionysius established the celestial hierarchy of nine choirs: seraphim, cherubim, and thrones; dominations, virtues, and powers; principalities, archangels, and angels, the last two having a direct mission to men.’
    • ‘All three Persons of the Trinity were involved in creation, including the creation of Satan, (or rather the cherub who fell and became Satan).’
    • ‘What about the shock in heaven when Lucifer, the light bearer they called the anointed cherub, led a revolt in heaven and a third of the angels, the bible says, were cast down.’
    • ‘The sound of the wings of the cherubim was as the voice of Almighty God when he speaks and it could be heard clear out into the outer court.’
    • ‘The cherubim and seraphim were gentle and polite, but their conversation revolved mainly around falling down before Him in adoration and singing praises unto His holy name, and she rapidly tired of it all.’
    • ‘So with all the angels and saints, with the cherubim and seraphim, let's all bow down in worship before the Lamb of God, who has ransomed us from death and brought us into his eternal kingdom!’
    • ‘‘In this mystery,’ the liturgy continues, ‘we are icons of the cherubim.’’
    • ‘A stooping, dispirited Adam and a wistful Eve walk slowly through a lush garden with gravid fruit trees and a profusion of animals, as a flaming red cherub, his sword raised, glowers against a possible return.’
    • ‘With the way the cash registers are ringing, an entire squadron of cherubim should be getting their wings.’
    • ‘Third, Satan was the anointed cherub.’
    • ‘After expelling Adam and Eve from Paradise, God left a cherubim with a flashing sword to guard the Tree of Life.’
    • ‘Never in the history of the church was there a saint, an apostle, or even the whole college of apostles, compared in such a way to the cherubim and seraphim!’
    angel, seraph
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    1. 1.1A representation of a cherub in Western art, depicted as a chubby, healthy-looking child with wings.
      • ‘The existence of the tiles depicting the cherubim is fully explained.’
      • ‘Every once in awhile we would pass a marble cherub, or a beautifully carved fountain.’
      • ‘Inside you can attempt to ponder the meaning of a millennium of art, from fat cherubs to blotchy irises.’
      • ‘An interior courtyard boasts a graceful arched door and elegant windows and the landing is adorned with carved wooden cherubs at the four corners of a decorated dome.’
      • ‘The exquisite engraving includes the figure of a cherub in a dog-drawn chariot and an architectural folly.’
      • ‘A project last year to carefully scrape away its modern covering revealed the existence of two cherubs believed to form the original ceiling decoration.’
      • ‘The Virgin, borne by angels and cherubs who seem made of light and air, soars into an efflorescent sky.’
      • ‘She smiled, and looked very much like a pink-haired version of the cherubs in Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.’
      • ‘Both men shared a penchant for cherubs - dozens adorn the chandeliers, mirrors, and garden statuettes.’
      • ‘I fall down a staircase and get impaled by a sculpture of a cherub's arrow.’
      • ‘The restoration, organised by Rome's cultural heritage office, not only de-robed the statues but also brought to light a beautiful fresco of flying cherubs, which had been covered in a thick crust of paint and wax.’
      • ‘The chubby cherub can put in a good word with God.’
      • ‘Right above the bed, in the plaster, were images of a group of seraphs and cherubs, holding harps and bows.’
      • ‘As a child she had always admired the beautiful medieval stained glass windows and the white walls, the towering steeples and the cherubs painted carefully onto the domed ceiling.’
      • ‘It was a wooden box covered with gold and it was decorated on top with two small statues of winged cherubs facing each other.’
      • ‘I feel like there should be a choir of cherubs singing and stuff.’
      • ‘I glanced at the bright pink poster with cherubs and slowly looked back up at her, ‘A dating service?’’
      • ‘Still, porcelain sculptures of cherubs and ballet dancers still remain fashionable, along with images of pretty maids and loving couples.’
      • ‘Even the ceiling was beautiful with scenes of clouds and cherubs painted on it.’
      • ‘The roof is ornamented with three cherubs, representing England, Scotland and Ireland, supporting the royal crown and holding the sceptre, sword of state and ensign of knighthood.’
    2. 1.2A beautiful or innocent-looking child.
      ‘a wistful cherub of eighteen months, photographed at her playgroup’
      • ‘He was a proper cherub with beautiful blond hair and blue eyes.’
      • ‘While I may have painted a negative picture of these delightful five-year-old cherubs, I think I still made it clear that each one was a welcome guest at our dinner table.’
      • ‘Now, which of you wonderful cherubs had this idea?’
      • ‘It is based on the concept of randomness and a parent's desire to spontaneously improvise a game that will entertain their little cherub for at least 60 seconds.’
      • ‘Fleshy babies and fresh-cheeked cherubs vie for attention.’
      • ‘For just two minutes now, she'd held the tiny cherubs in her arms.’
      • ‘Does that give you a clue to which of the little cherubs I am on the photo below.’
      • ‘Oh, you must be Paige, and these three little cherubs must be your siblings.’
      • ‘Grateful parents send photos of smiling cherubs playing with puppies or proud five-year-olds preparing for the first day of school.’
      • ‘Well Dearest, last night I dreamed of meeting you at home and after a sweet embrace I hurried to the bed with you, to see our four cherubs, who were all sleeping not knowing that I was present.’
      baby, infant, toddler, little one
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Old English cherubin, ultimately (via Latin and Greek) from Hebrew kĕrūḇ, plural kĕrūḇīm. A rabbinic folk etymology, which explains the Hebrew singular form as representing Aramaic kĕ-raḇyā like a child, led to the representation of the cherub as a child.