Main definitions of demon in English

: demon1demon2demon3

demon1

noun

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

    • ‘Frescoes of demons and spirits writhe across the walls of its prayer halls, and the drone of absorbed monks fills dim rooms and corridors.’
    • ‘But there is simply no credible evidence to suggest the boy was possessed by demons or evil spirits.’
    • ‘As well as animal forms, demons can have other grotesque and hideous forms.’
    • ‘It was a large wave of monsters, made up mainly of ogres and dog demons.’
    • ‘The Japanese culture and arts have been strongly influenced by a wide-spread belief in ghosts, demons and supernatural spirits.’
    • ‘The demons and other beasts that escaped banishment hid in the dark places of the world, like the forests and great pits.’
    • ‘Tibetans treat the blind as outcasts because they believe they are possessed by demons or have committed evil in a prior life.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the first one I look like some evil demon has possessed me.’
    • ‘In Tartini's time, the Devil personified the spirit of evil, a demon, the ruler of Hell, and the chief adversary of God.’
    • ‘‘People who lived on the streets due to the abuse of drugs, were not mentally deranged but possessed by demons,’ he said.’
    • ‘At any rate, the talk show host was advising a father who thought his son was possessed by a demon.’
    • ‘Indeed, they would conclude that he was possessed by an evil demon.’
    • ‘Shadows of beasts and demons flickered bigger-than-life on the walls.’
    • ‘On Japanese art objects, Kintaro is usually shown fighting with a wild animal or a demon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Can a pharmacist refuse to fill a prescription because he or she believes the client is possessed by demons?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Early Christian art painted demons and devils as black figures.’
    • ‘Possession by a bad spirit (a demon or witch) has been cited as the cause of some of the evil things people do.’
    devil, fiend, evil spirit, fallen angel, cacodemon
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    1. 1.1 A cruel, evil, or destructive person or thing.
      ‘I was a little demon, I can tell you’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After all, no child could resist the commanding and manipulating voice of a demon.’
      • ‘Three, I'm a sadistic demon that delights in your emotional pain.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No, they are not animals, they are evil demons who hide under the cloak of kindness and normality while they hatch their plots.’
      • ‘She had been manipulated by the demon, just as Koreko had been.’
      monster, ogre, fiend, devil, villain, brute, savage, beast, barbarian, animal
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    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is the second time in 12 months that Sondheim's demon barber has appeared in London.’
    • ‘Even before the tourists jetted out from Blighty former Australian bowling demon Dennis Lillee delivered a withering a verdict on the England attack.’
    • ‘For Ben the Bucket, the Dale's demon gardener, the summer has been both a triumph and a tragedy.’
    • ‘York trumpeter Greg Wadman heads for Scarborough Jazz on Tuesday, with demon guitarist Trevor Holroyd.’
    • ‘Cotton might not be the demon fabric that performance apparel manufacturers say it is, but I'm going to keep my Under Armour shirt.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She's a triathelete and is a little speed demon.’
    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
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Phrases

  • like a demon

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

      ‘he worked like a demon’
      • ‘I drove the length and breadth of the country at demon speed but I was still hankering after one more thing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Booze was imbedded in the culture of the tour back then and guys played up to their reputations as demon drinkers.’
      • ‘He trains like a demon and has taken transplant swimming to a new high.’
      • ‘Professional golfers of his era were demon drinkers.’
      • ‘We had our excuses - Papa watched TV late and loud and snored like a demon and my reading lamp bothered Mother.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Reilly has clearly researched and planned the story - and then written like a demon.’
      • ‘After all, he scored the first goal, made the third and defended like a demon for the two periods of extra-time.’

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 English

: demon1demon2demon3

demon2

noun

Pronunciation

demon

/ˈdimən//ˈdēmən/

Main definitions of demon in English

: demon1demon2demon3

demon3

noun

NZ, Australian
informal
  • A police officer.

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

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/