Advertisement
22 entries found.
Search filter: All Results 
Satan (n.)

proper name of the supreme evil spirit in Christianity, Old English Satan, from Late Latin Satan (in Vulgate in Old Testament only), from Greek Satanas, from Hebrew satan "adversary, one who plots against another," from satan "to show enmity to, oppose, plot against," from root s-t-n "one who opposes, obstructs, or acts as an adversary."

In Septuagint (Greek) usually translated as diabolos "slanderer," literally "one who throws (something) across" the path of another (see devil (n.)), though epiboulos "plotter" is used once.

In biblical sources the Hebrew term the satan describes an adversarial role. It is not the name of a particular character. Although Hebrew storytellers as early as the sixth century B.C.E. occasionally introduced a supernatural character whom they called the satan, what they meant was any one of the angels sent by God for the specific purpose of blocking or obstructing human activity. [Elaine Pagels, "The Origin of Satan," 1995]
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Satanist (n.)
1550s, from Satan + -ist. Ppplied by their enemies to Protestant sects. Meaning "Satan-worshipper" is from 1896.
Related entries & more 
Satanophobia (n.)
"morbid dread of Satan," 1860, from Satan + -phobia, with connective -o-.
Related entries & more 
satanic (adj.)
1667 (in "Paradise Lost"), "pertaining to Satan," from Satan + -ic. Meaning "diabolical" is from 1793. Related: Satanical (1540s).
Related entries & more 
Satanism (n.)
1560s, "satanic disposition," from Satan + -ism. Applied 1820s-30s to the poetry of Byron, etc. Meaning "worship of Satan" dates from 1895, with reference to France, where it was said to be active at that time.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
fiend (n.)

Old English feond "enemy, foe, adversary," originally present participle of feogan "to hate," from Proto-Germanic *fijand- "hating, hostile" (source also of Old Frisian fiand "enemy," Old Saxon fiond, Middle Dutch viant, Dutch vijand "enemy," Old Norse fjandi, Old High German fiant, Gothic fijands), from suffixed form of PIE root *pe(i)- "to hurt" (source also of Sanskrit pijati "reviles, scorns;" Avestan paman-, name of a skin disease; Greek pema "disaster, sorrow, misery, woe;" Gothic faian "to blame").

As spelling suggests, the word originally was the opposite of friend (n.). Both are from the active participles of the Germanic verbs for "to love" and "to hate." Boutkan says the "fiend" word was a Germanic analogical formation from the "friend" word. According to Bammesberger ["English Etymology"], "The long vowel in FIEND is regular. In FRIEND the vowel has been shortened; perhaps the shortening is due to compounds like FRIENDSHIP, in which the consonant group (-nds-) regularly caused shortening of the preceeding long vowel."

Fiend at first described any hostile enemy (male and female, with abstract noun form feondscipe "fiendship"), but it began to be used in late Old English for "the Devil, Satan" (literally "adversary") as the "enemy of mankind," which shifted its sense to "diabolical person" (early 13c.). The old sense of the word devolved to foe, then to the imported word enemy. For spelling with -ie- see field. Meaning "devotee (of whatever is indicated)," as in dope fiend, is from 1865.

Related entries & more 
devil (n.)

Old English deofol "a devil, a subordinate evil spirit afflicting humans;" also, in Christian theology, "the Devil, a powerful spirit of evil otherwise known as Satan," from Late Latin diabolus (also the source of Italian diavolo, French diable, Spanish diablo; German Teufel is Old High German tiufal, from Latin via Gothic diabaulus).

The Late Latin word is from Ecclesiastical Greek diabolos, which in Jewish and Christian use was "the Devil, Satan," and which in general use meant "accuser, slanderer" (thus it was a scriptural loan-translation of Hebrew satan; see Satan). It is an agent noun from Greek diaballein "to slander, attack," literally "to throw across," from dia "across, through" (see dia-) + ballein "to throw" (from PIE root *gwele- "to throw, reach").

Jerome re-introduced Satan in Latin bibles, and English translators have used both words in different measures. In Vulgate, as in Greek, diabolus and dæmon (see demon) were distinct, but they have merged in English and other Germanic languages.

Meaning "false god, heathen god" is from c. 1200. Sense of "diabolical person, person resembling a devil or demon in character" is from late 12c. Playful use for "clever rogue" is from c. 1600. As an expletive and in expletive phrases from c. 1200.

Meaning "sand spout, dust storm" is from 1835 (dust devil is attested by 1867). In U.S. place names, the word often represents a native word such as Algonquian manito, more properly "spirit, god." Phrase a devil way (c. 1300) was originally "Hell-ward, to Hell," but by late 14c. it was a mere expression of irritation. Meaning "errand-boy in a printing office" is from 1680s, perhaps because they were often blackened by the ink (devils then being popularly supposed to be black).

Devil's books "playing cards" is from 1729, but the cited quote says they've been called that "time out of mind" (the four of clubs is the devil's bedposts); devil's coach-horse is from 1840, the large rove-beetle, which is defiant when disturbed. Devil's food cake (1895; three different recipes in the cookbook "compiled by the Ladies' Aid Society of the Friends' Church, Wilmington, Ohio"), rich and chocolate, probably is in deliberate contrast to angel food cake. Conventional phrase talk (or speak)of the Devil, and he's presently at your elbow is by 1660s.

Related entries & more 
arch-fiend (n.)

1667, from arch (adj.) + fiend (n.). Originally and typically Satan (arch-foe "Satan" is from 1610s).

So stretcht out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay. ["Paradise Lost," 1667]
Related entries & more 
arch-enemy (n.)
also archenemy, 1540s, from arch- + enemy. Originally especially Satan.
Related entries & more 
devil-worship (n.)

"the worship of evil spirits or Satan by incantations intended to propitiate them," 1719; see devil + worship (n.). Related: Devil-worshipping; devil-worshipper.

Related entries & more