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better angels pl (plural only)

  1. (idiomatic) Morally upright or otherwise positive attributes of human character.
    • 1841, Charles Dickens, chapter 29, in Barnaby Rudge:
      So do the shadows of our own desires stand between us and our better angels, and thus their brightness is eclipsed.
    • 1861 March 4, Abraham Lincoln, "First Inaugural Address":
      The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
    • 1982 Dec. 25, "Opinion: Children at the Window," New York Times (retrieved 3 Sep 2016):
      A Christmas without children would be like a sleigh ride without snow. What gives this day its special grace is the glimpse it yields of a child's belief in the better angels of a grown-up world. Selfishness recedes, good will and gentleness for a blessed moment prevail.
    • 2007, Chris Wallin and Craig Wiseman, "Love me if you can" (song lyrics, performed by Toby Keith):
      Call me wrong, call me right
      But I bring my better angels to every fight