Angel Definition

Definition of Angels from different sources.



Main Entry: angel
Pronunciation: ‘An-j&l
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English engel & Old French angele; both from Late Latin angelus, from Greek angelos, literally, messenger
Date: before 12th century

1 a : a spiritual being superior to man in power and intelligence; especially : one in the lowest rank in the celestial hierarchy b plural : an order of angels — see CELESTIAL HIERARCHY
2 : an attendant spirit or guardian
3 : a white-robed winged figure of human form in fine art
5 : a person like an angel (as in looks or behavior)
6 Christian Science : inspiration from God
7 : one (as a backer of a theatrical venture) who aids or supports with money or influence
– an·gel·ic /an-‘je-lik/ or an·gel·i·cal /-li-k&l/ adjective
– an·gel·i·cal·ly /-li-k(&-)lE/ adverb


Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
angel noun
1 [C] a good spiritual creature in stories or some religions, usually represented as a human with wings:
According to the Bible, an angel told Mary that she would have God’s son Jesus.

2 [C] someone who is very good, helpful or kind:
Be an angel and help me with this.

3 [as form of address] used when speaking to someone you like very much and know very well:
What’s the matter, angel?

4 [C] a person in the theatre who provides money for a show to be planned

angelic adjective
very beautiful and very good:
an angelic voice/face/smile

angelically adverb


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language
angel n.

1. A typically benevolent celestial being that acts as an intermediary between heaven and earth, especially in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism.

2. A representation of such a being, especially in Christianity, conventionally in the image of a human figure with a halo and wings.

3. angels (Christianity) The last of the nine orders of angels in medieval angelology. From the highest to the lowest in rank, the orders are: seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations or dominions, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels, and angels.

4. A guardian spirit or guiding influence.

A kind and lovable person.
One who manifests goodness, purity, and selflessness.

5. Informal A financial backer of an enterprise, especially a dramatic production or a political campaign.

[Middle English, from Old English engel, or Old French angele both from Late Latin angelus, from Late Greek angelos, from Greek, messenger.]
(n-jlk) or an·geli·cal adj.
an·geli·cal·ly adv.


Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary

\An”gel\, n. [AS. [ae]ngel, engel, influenced by OF. angele, angle, F. ange. Both the AS. and the OF. words are from L. angelus, Gr. ‘a`ggelos messenger, a messenger of God, an angel.] 1. A messenger. [R.]

The dear good angel of the Spring, The nightingale. –B. Jonson.

2. A spiritual, celestial being, superior to man in power and intelligence. In the Scriptures the angels appear as God’s messengers.

O, welcome, pure-eyed Faith, white-handed Hope, Thou hovering angel, girt with golden wings. –Milton.

3. One of a class of “fallen angels;” an evil spirit; as, the devil and his angels.

4. A minister or pastor of a church, as in the Seven Asiatic churches. [Archaic]

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write. –Rev. ii. 1.

5. Attendant spirit; genius; demon. –Shak.

6. An appellation given to a person supposed to be of angelic goodness or loveliness; a darling.

When pain and anguish wring the brow, A ministering angel thou. –Sir W. Scott.

7. (Numis.) An ancient gold coin of England, bearing the figure of the archangel Michael. It varied in value from 6s. 8d. to 10s. –Amer. Cyc.

Note: Angel is sometimes used adjectively; as, angel grace; angel whiteness.


Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary

a word signifying, both in the Hebrew and Greek, a “messenger,” and hence
employed to denote any agent God sends forth to execute his purposes. It is
used of an ordinary messenger (Job 1:14: 1 Sam. 11:3; Luke 7:24; 9:52), of
prophets (Isa. 42:19; Hag. 1:13), of priests (Mal. 2:7), and ministers of the
New Testament (Rev. 1:20). It is also applied to such impersonal agents as the
pestilence (2 Sam. 24:16, 17; 2 Kings 19:35), the wind (Ps. 104:4). But its
distinctive application is to certain heavenly intelligences whom God employs
in carrying on his government of the world. The name does not denote their
nature but their office as messengers. The appearances to Abraham at Mamre
(Gen. 18:2, 22. Comp. 19:1), to Jacob at Peniel (Gen. 32:24, 30), to Joshua at
Gilgal (Josh. 5:13, 15), of the Angel of the Lord, were doubtless
manifestations of the Divine presence, “foreshadowings of the incarnation,”
revelations before the “fulness of the time” of the Son of God. (1.) The
existence and orders of angelic beings can only be discovered from the
Scriptures. Although the Bible does not treat of this subject specially, yet
there are numerous incidental details that furnish us with ample information.
Their personal existence is plainly implied in such passages as Gen. 16:7, 10,
11; Judg. 13:1-21; Matt. 28:2-5; Heb. 1:4, etc. These superior beings are very
numerous. “Thousand thousands,” etc. (Dan. 7:10; Matt. 26:53; Luke 2:13; Heb.
12:22, 23). They are also spoken of as of different ranks in dignity and power
(Zech. 1:9, 11; Dan. 10:13; 12:1; 1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 1:9; Eph. 1:21; Col.

(2.) As to their nature, they are spirits (Heb. 1:14), like the soul of
man, but not incorporeal. Such expressions as “like the angels” (Luke 20:36),
and the fact that whenever angels appeared to man it was always in a human form
(Gen. 18:2; 19:1, 10; Luke 24:4; Acts 1:10), and the titles that are applied to
them (“sons of God,” Job 1:6; 38:7; Dan. 3:25; comp. 28) and to men (Luke
3:38), seem all to indicate some resemblance between them and the human race.
Imperfection is ascribed to them as creatures (Job 4:18; Matt. 24:36; 1 Pet.
1:12). As finite creatures they may fall under temptation; and accordingly we
read of “fallen angels.” Of the cause and manner of their “fall” we are wholly
ignorant. We know only that “they left their first estate” (Matt. 25:41; Rev.
12:7,9), and that they are “reserved unto judgement” (2 Pet. 2:4). When the
manna is called “angels’ food,” this is merely to denote its excellence (Ps.
78:25). Angels never die (Luke 20:36). They are possessed of superhuman
intelligence and power (Mark 13:32; 2 Thess. 1:7; Ps. 103:20). They are called
” holy” (Luke 9:26), “elect” (1 Tim. 5:21). The redeemed in glory are “like unto
the angels” (Luke 20:36). They are not to be worshipped (Col. 2:18; Rev.

(3.) Their functions are manifold. (a) In the widest sense they are
agents of God’s providence (Ex. 12:23; Ps. 104:4; Heb. 11:28; 1 Cor. 10:10; 2
Sam. 24:16; 1 Chr. 21:16; 2 Kings 19:35; Acts 12:23). (b) They are specially
God’s agents in carrying on his great work of redemption. There is no notice of
angelic appearances to man till after the call of Abraham. From that time
onward there are frequent references to their ministry on earth (Gen. 18; 19;
24:7, 40; 28:12; 32:1). They appear to rebuke idolatry (Judg. 2:1-4), to call
Gideon (Judg. 6:11, 12), and to consecrate Samson (13:3). In the days of the
prophets, from Samuel downward, the angels appear only in their behalf (1 Kings
19:5; 2 Kings 6:17; Zech. 1-6; Dan. 4:13, 23; 10:10, 13, 20, 21). The
Incarnation introduces a new era in the ministrations of angels. They come with
their Lord to earth to do him service while here. They predict his advent
(Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:26-38), minister to him after his temptation and agony
(Matt. 4:11; Luke 22:43), and declare his resurrection and ascension (Matt.
28:2-8; John 20:12, 13; Acts 1:10, 11). They are now ministering spirits to the
people of God (Heb. 1:14; Ps. 34:7; 91:11; Matt. 18:10; Acts 5:19; 8:26; 10:3;
12:7; 27:23). They rejoice over a penitent sinner (Luke 15:10). They bear the
souls of the redeemed to paradise (Luke 16:22); and they will be the ministers
of judgement hereafter on the great day (Matt. 13:39, 41, 49; 16:27; 24:31).
The passages (Ps. 34:7, Matt. 18:10) usually referred to in support of the idea
that every individual has a particular guardian angel have no such meaning.
They merely indicate that God employs the ministry of angels to deliver his
people from affliction and danger, and that the angels do not think it below
their dignity to minister even to children and to the least among Christ’s
disciples. The “angel of his presence” (Isa. 63:9. Comp. Ex. 23:20, 21; 32:34;
33:2; Num. 20:16) is probably rightly interpreted of the Messiah as the guide
of his people. Others have supposed the expression to refer to Gabriel (Luke


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