/dee"meuhn/, n.
1. an evil spirit; devil or fiend.
2. an evil passion or influence.
3. a person considered extremely wicked, evil, or cruel.
4. a person with great energy, drive, etc.: He's a demon for work.
5. a person, esp. a child, who is very mischievous: His younger son is a real little demon.
6. daemon.
7. Australian Slang. a policeman, esp. a detective.
8. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or noting a demon.
9. possessed or controlled by a demon.
[1350-1400; ME < L daemonium < Gk daimónion, thing of divine nature (in Jewish and Christian writers, evil spirit), neut. of daimónios, deriv. of daímon; (def. 6) < L; see DAEMON]

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In religions worldwide, any of various evil spirits that mediate between the supernatural and human realms.

The term comes from the Greek word daimon, a divine or semidivine power that determined a person's fate. Zoroastrianism had a hierarchy of demons, which were in constant battle with Ahura Mazda. In Judaism it was believed that demons inhabited desert wastes, ruins, and graves and inflicted physical and spiritual disorders on humankind. Christianity placed Satan or Beelzebub at the head of the ranks of demons, and Islam designated Iblis or Satan as the leader of a host of evil jinn. Hinduism has many demons, called asuras, who oppose the devas (gods). In Buddhism demons are seen as tempters who prevent the achievement of nirvana.

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also spelled  daemon,  Classical Greek  daimon,  

      in Greek religion, a supernatural power. In Homer the term is used almost interchangeably with theos for a god. The distinction there is that theos emphasizes the personality of the god, and demon his activity. Hence, the term demon was regularly applied to sudden or unexpected supernatural interventions not due to any particular deity. It became commonly the power determining a person's fate, and a mortal could have a personal demon. As early as Hesiod (c. 700 BC), the dead of the Golden Age became demons; and later philosophical speculation envisaged these as lower than the gods (possibly mortal) but as superior to humanity. (See also angel and demon.)

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