an evil spirit; devil or fiend.
an evil passion or influence.
a person considered extremely wicked, evil, or cruel.
a person with great energy, drive, etc.: He's a demon for work.
a person, especially a child, who is very mischievous: His younger son is a real little demon.
Australian Slang. a policeman, especially a detective.
of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or noting a demon.
possessed or controlled by a demon.

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin daemonium < Greek daimónion, thing of divine nature (in Jewish and Christian writers, evil spirit), neuter of daimónios, derivative of daímōn; (def 6) < Latin; see daemon Unabridged


variant of demono- before a vowel: demonism. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To demon
World English Dictionary
demon (ˈdiːmən)
1.  an evil spirit or devil
2.  a person, habit, obsession, etc, thought of as evil, cruel, or persistently tormenting
3.  daemon, Also called: daimon an attendant or ministering spirit; genius: the demon of inspiration
4.  a.  a person who is extremely skilful in, energetic at, or devoted to a given activity, esp a sport: a demon at cycling
 b.  (as modifier): a demon cyclist
5.  a variant spelling of daemon
6.  informal, archaic (Austral), (NZ) a detective or policeman
7.  computing a part of a computer program, such as a help facility, that can run in the background behind the current task or application, and which will only begin to work when certain conditions are met or when it is specifically invoked
[C15: from Latin daemōn evil spirit, spirit, from Greek daimōn spirit, deity, fate; see daemon]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

late 14c., from L. dæmon "spirit," from Gk. daimon (gen. daimonos) "lesser god, guiding spirit, tutelary deity," (sometimes including souls of the dead), used (with daimonion) in Christian Gk. translations and Vulgate for "god of the heathen" and "unclean spirit." Jewish authors earlier had employed
the Gk. word in this sense, using it to render shedim "lords, idols" in the Septuagint, and Matt. viii.31 has daimones, translated as deofol in O.E., feend or deuil in M.E. The original mythological sense is sometimes written dæmon for purposes of distinction. The Demon of Socrates (late 14c.) was a daimonion, a "divine principle or inward oracle." His accusers, and later the Church Fathers, however, represented this otherwise. Fem. form demoness first attested 1630s. The Demon Star (1895) is Algol.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Computing Dictionary

demon definition

1. (Often used equivalently to daemon, especially in the Unix world, where the latter spelling and pronunciation is considered mildly archaic). A program or part of a program which is not invoked explicitly, but that lies dormant waiting for some condition(s) to occur.
At MIT they use "demon" for part of a program and "daemon" for an operating system process.
Demons (parts of programs) are particularly common in AI programs. For example, a knowledge-manipulation program might implement inference rules as demons. Whenever a new piece of knowledge was added, various demons would activate (which demons depends on the particular piece of data) and would create additional pieces of knowledge by applying their respective inference rules to the original piece. These new pieces could in turn activate more demons as the inferences filtered down through chains of logic. Meanwhile, the main program could continue with whatever its primary task was. This is similar to the triggers used in relational databases.
The use of this term may derive from "Maxwell's Demons" - minute beings which can reverse the normal flow of heat from a hot body to a cold body by only allowing fast moving molecules to go from the cold body to the hot one and slow molecules from hot to cold. The solution to this apparent thermodynamic paradox is that the demons would require an external supply of energy to do their work and it is only in the absence of such a supply that heat must necessarily flow from hot to cold.
Walt Bunch believes the term comes from the demons in Oliver Selfridge's paper "Pandemonium", MIT 1958, which was named after the capital of Hell in Milton's "Paradise Lost". Selfridge likened neural cells firing in response to input patterns to the chaos of millions of demons shrieking in Pandemonium.
2. Demon Internet Ltd.
3. A program generator for differential equation problems.
[N.W. Bennett, Australian AEC Research Establishment, AAEC/E142, Aug 1965].
[Jargon File]
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source
Bible Dictionary

Demon definition


Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Perhaps, but to judge by all the frenetic activity going on, the demon
  unleashed is more likely to be exhaustion.
Its going to take a combination of all to overcome this demon.
Ryan tells us what happens when players conjure up a demon by accident.
At a full stop-for the moment, the swift fox is a real speed demon.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature