1598, the evil spirit whom Faust sold his soul to in the Ger. legend, from Ger. (1587), of unknown origin. According to the speculation of eminent Göthe scholar K.J. Schröer (1886) it is a compound of Heb. mephitz "destroyer" + tophel "liar" (short for tophel sheqer, lit. "falsehood plasterer;"
cf. Job xiii.4). Names of devils in the Middle Ages in most cases derived from Heb.
In the drama Faust by Goethe, a devil who tempts Faust into selling his soul to the powers of darkness. Mephistopheles also appears, with his name spelled Mephistophilis, in the sixteenth-century English play Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe.