Main definitions of demon in US English:

: demon1demon2demon3

demon1

noun

  • 1An evil spirit or devil, especially one thought to possess a person or act as a tormentor in hell.

    • ‘Indeed, they would conclude that he was possessed by an evil demon.’
    • ‘Tibetans treat the blind as outcasts because they believe they are possessed by demons or have committed evil in a prior life.’
    • ‘But there is simply no credible evidence to suggest the boy was possessed by demons or evil spirits.’
    • ‘In Tartini's time, the Devil personified the spirit of evil, a demon, the ruler of Hell, and the chief adversary of God.’
    • ‘Can a pharmacist refuse to fill a prescription because he or she believes the client is possessed by demons?’
    • ‘On Japanese art objects, Kintaro is usually shown fighting with a wild animal or a demon.’
    • ‘Possession by a bad spirit (a demon or witch) has been cited as the cause of some of the evil things people do.’
    • ‘Shadows of beasts and demons flickered bigger-than-life on the walls.’
    • ‘Early Christian art painted demons and devils as black figures.’
    • ‘Frescoes of demons and spirits writhe across the walls of its prayer halls, and the drone of absorbed monks fills dim rooms and corridors.’
    • ‘‘People who lived on the streets due to the abuse of drugs, were not mentally deranged but possessed by demons,’ he said.’
    • ‘As well as animal forms, demons can have other grotesque and hideous forms.’
    • ‘This type of dragon was considered by many to be the intermediate stage between a demon and the Devil and as such came into Christian belief.’
    • ‘It was a large wave of monsters, made up mainly of ogres and dog demons.’
    • ‘From that there can be no doubt that the power of a demon is destructive - his purpose in dominating the personality is to destroy it.’
    • ‘In a statement to the inquest, Mr Delstanche senior, said his son was not trying to harm himself but thought he could burn the spirits or demons out of his body.’
    • ‘At any rate, the talk show host was advising a father who thought his son was possessed by a demon.’
    • ‘In the first one I look like some evil demon has possessed me.’
    • ‘The demons and other beasts that escaped banishment hid in the dark places of the world, like the forests and great pits.’
    • ‘The Japanese culture and arts have been strongly influenced by a wide-spread belief in ghosts, demons and supernatural spirits.’
    devil, fiend, evil spirit, fallen angel, cacodemon
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A cruel, evil, or destructive person or thing.
      ‘I was a little demon, I can tell you’
      • ‘After all, no child could resist the commanding and manipulating voice of a demon.’
      • ‘She had been manipulated by the demon, just as Koreko had been.’
      • ‘No, they are not animals, they are evil demons who hide under the cloak of kindness and normality while they hatch their plots.’
      • ‘You are just hiding your true feelings; you hate us, you think we are evil wicked demons from hell here to rip you to shreds.’
      • ‘Three, I'm a sadistic demon that delights in your emotional pain.’
      • ‘Why did he go from nearly human to cruel demon in a heartbeat?’
      • ‘That, or there's some twisted sadist of a blind, jealous lunatic demon deceiving me.’
      monster, ogre, fiend, devil, villain, brute, savage, beast, barbarian, animal
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Reckless mischief; devilry.
      ‘his eyes are bursting with pure demon’
      • ‘So how odd that Howard should invest so much time and political capital in building a whole speech round this non-existent demon.’
  • 2often as modifier A forceful, fierce, or skillful performer of a specified activity.

    ‘a friend of mine is a demon cook’
    ‘a demon for work’
    • ‘You play as Jenn who thinks herself a normal girl who likes to have fun, but as the story progresses she learns that she posses demon abilities.’
    • ‘As a sideline he was a classical violinist, a master bridge player and a demon at gin rummy, but golf was where he got his kicks.’
    • ‘This is the second time in 12 months that Sondheim's demon barber has appeared in London.’
    • ‘She's a triathelete and is a little speed demon.’
    • ‘Even before the tourists jetted out from Blighty former Australian bowling demon Dennis Lillee delivered a withering a verdict on the England attack.’
    • ‘York trumpeter Greg Wadman heads for Scarborough Jazz on Tuesday, with demon guitarist Trevor Holroyd.’
    • ‘Remember those occasions when he would have made batting easy for his partners by taking on the demon bowlers all by himself.’
    • ‘Our first tests of the company's new speed demon show some impressive performance gains.’
    • ‘Cotton might not be the demon fabric that performance apparel manufacturers say it is, but I'm going to keep my Under Armour shirt.’
    • ‘For Ben the Bucket, the Dale's demon gardener, the summer has been both a triumph and a tragedy.’
    • ‘My wife, Bobbie, and I found the Vietnamese to be sweet people, demon entrepreneurs, not at all unfriendly to us.’
    • ‘Can this demon conductor possibly be pried away from his beloved Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg and tied permanently to New York?’
    genius, wizard, expert, master, adept, virtuoso, maestro, past master, marvel, prodigy
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  • 3

    another term for daemon (sense 1)
    • ‘The gods of the world are having trouble keeping the demons at bay, and so they come up with a last-ditch scheme - to resurrect a dead hero.’
    inspiring force, genius, numen, daemon
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • like a demon

    • In a very forceful, fierce, or skillful way.

      ‘he worked like a demon’
      • ‘He trains like a demon and has taken transplant swimming to a new high.’
      • ‘After all, he scored the first goal, made the third and defended like a demon for the two periods of extra-time.’
      • ‘I drove the length and breadth of the country at demon speed but I was still hankering after one more thing.’
      • ‘Professional golfers of his era were demon drinkers.’
      • ‘Booze was imbedded in the culture of the tour back then and guys played up to their reputations as demon drinkers.’
      • ‘He negotiated like a demon and saved the club from an unimaginable fate.’
      • ‘Finally felt better on Sunday night and now I'm up late writing emails like a demon after too long an absence.’
      • ‘Toby in front of me was rowing like a demon, his competitiveness harnessed and proving very effective and Wheelie kept bellowing and keeping us focused.’
      • ‘We had our excuses - Papa watched TV late and loud and snored like a demon and my reading lamp bothered Mother.’
      • ‘Reilly has clearly researched and planned the story - and then written like a demon.’

Origin

Middle English: from medieval Latin, from Latin daemon, from Greek daimōn ‘deity, genius’; in demon (sense 1) also from Latin daemonium ‘lesser or evil spirit’, from Greek daemonion, diminutive of daimōn.

Pronunciation

demon

/ˈdimən//ˈdēmən/

Main definitions of demon in US English:

: demon1demon2demon3

demon2

noun

Pronunciation

demon

/ˈdimən//ˈdēmən/

Main definitions of demon in US English:

: demon1demon2demon3

demon3

noun

NZ, Australian
informal
  • A police officer.

    • ‘I only wish I had one of them button-hole cameras you see advertised - the demons use them I believe.’
    • ‘Demons were flown up from the south to make enquiries.’

Origin

Late 19th century: perhaps from Van Diemen 's Land, an early name for Tasmania, or based on dee (slang term for detective) + man.

Pronunciation

demon

/ˈdimən//ˈdēmən/