Old EnglishEdit

Yfeles Orþanc (Dēofles anlīcnes sēo sume menn āwrǣnþ)

Alternative formsEdit


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 ne mæġ hine lange healdan.
    You can catch the Devil, but you can't hold him for long.
  2. a demon
    • late 10th century, 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 like birds do visibly.

Usage notesEdit

  • 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 termsEdit