Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Old English[edit]

Yfeles Orþanc (Dēofles anlīcnes sēo sume menn āwrǣnþ)

Alternative forms[edit]


From Proto-West Germanic *diubul [ˈdiu̯.βul], from Latin diabolus. Cognate with Old Frisian diōvel, Old Saxon diuƀal, Old High German tiufal. The Old High German word, whose expected form would be *tiubal, might have adopted its -f- by association with tiof (deep).


  • IPA(key): /ˈde͜oː.fol/, [ˈde͜oː.vol]


dēofol n

  1. the Devil, Satan
    Þone dēofol man mæġ ġefōn, ac hē hine ne mæġ lange healdan.
    You can catch the Devil, but you can't hold him for long.
  2. a demon
    • c. 992, Ælfric, "Sexigesima Sunday"
      Dēoflu sind fuglas ġeċīeġedu for þon þe hīe flēogaþ ġeond þās lyft unġesewenlīċe, swā swā fuglas dōþ ġesewenlīċe.
      Demons are called birds because they fly through the air invisibly, just as birds do visibly.

Usage notes[edit]

  • This word can sometimes be masculine in the singular, though it is almost always neuter in the plural.
  • In the sense "THE Devil", i.e. Satan, it can be used either with or without a definite article.


Derived terms[edit]