Definition for DEV'IL

DEV'IL, n. [dev'l; Sax. diafol; D. duivel; G. teufel; Sw. diefvul; Dan. diævel; Russ. diavol; Tartar, diof; L. diabolus; Gr. διαβολος, said to be from διαβαλλω, to calumniate; Fr. diable; Sp. diablo; Port. diabo; It. diavolo. The Armoric is diaul; W. diawl, which Owen supposes to be compounded of di, a negative, and awl, light – one without light, (prince of darkness.) The Irish is diabhail, which, according to O'Brien, is composed of dia, deity, and bhal, air, (god of the air.) If these Celtic words are justly explained, they are not connected with diabolus, or the latter is erroneously deduced.]

  1. In the Christian theology, an evil spirit or being; a fallen angel, expelled from heaven for rebellion against God; the chief of the apostate angels; the implacable enemy and tempter of the human race. In the New Testament, the word is frequently and erroneously used for demon.
  2. A very wicked person, and in ludicrous language, any great evil. In profane language, it is an expletive expressing wonder, vexation, &c.
  3. An idol, or false god. – Lev. xvii. 2 Chron. xi.

Return to page 86 of the letter “D”.