lord of the flies

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The English-language translation of the Hebrew word בעל זבוב ‎(ba'al-z'vúv, fly-lord, Beelzebub), which in turn is a mistranslation of the name of the Semitic devil Baal-zevuv.


lord of the flies

  1. Beelzebub; Satan
  2. (idiomatic, biblical) a ruler over a worthless kingdom; leader of a meaningless microcosm.

Usage notes[edit]

The phrase can also be used as an adjective to describe a situation where there is no government and crime is common. This usage is a reference to the book Lord of the Flies and is usually capitalized.