Definition of diabolism in US English:



  • 1Worship of the Devil.

    • ‘It is an irreverence which comes to what is, for me, its crisis when articles by serious anarchists, Chiaromonte and Goodman, are presented along with the cud of fin-de-siècle diabolism.’
    • ‘Proctor saw this and feared, for diabolism was a practice unheard of.’
    • ‘Where did this hatred of Witchcraft begin and who is responsible for spreading the myths of diabolism, devil-worship, infanticide and crazed orgiastic rites?’
    • ‘White relied on a diabolism like this to induce a fall in the sunny paradise of Australia.’
    • ‘The ultimate Evil in the film turns out to originate from Ghul's excessive zeal, not from some hoaky diabolism.’
    • ‘Of these, the most striking is Matthew G. Lewis, whose novel The Monk cast aside Radcliffe's decorum in its sensational depictions of diabolism and incestuous rape.’
    • ‘Their performances invariably involve roughly equal measures of cruelty, obscenity, sacrilege, diabolism, and Norse paganism (thus accomplishing the difficult feat of simultaneously blaspheming both the Christian God and Odin).’
    • ‘Effective diabolism shows the existence of Satan, so the corresponding presence of his greater adversary is at least strongly implied.’
    the supernatural, the paranormal, supernaturalism, magic, black magic, witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, wizardry, the black arts, kabbalah, cabbalism, occultism, devil worship, devilry, voodoo, hoodoo, white magic, witchery, witching, orenda, mysticism
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    1. 1.1 Devilish or atrociously wicked conduct.
      • ‘Whatever be their duplicity and diabolism, they cannot be faulted when they say there is no installation in their country costlier than a Cruise missile.’
      • ‘Much has been made of the grim stare revealed in the most famous photograph of her, a supposed ‘look of evil’ that strikes me as more like sleepiness than diabolism.’
      • ‘But, once Richard is crowned and has no need to play the hypocrite, one yearns for a touch of genuine diabolism.’
      • ‘Now, Hollingworth's contrived diabolism in the public eye has reached new heights: he has committed crimes against those who no longer live.’
      • ‘On the one hand, Schiller creates a character of pure Shakespearean diabolism in Franz von Moor, who disinherits his elder brother and seeks to seduce his beloved, Amalia.’


Early 17th century: from ecclesiastical Latin diabolus or Greek diabolos ‘devil’ + -ism.