one of a cl-ss of spiritual beings; a celestial attendant of g-d. in medieval , angels const-tuted the lowest of the nine celestial orders (seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations or dominions, virtues, powers, princ-p-lities or princedoms, archangels, and angels).
a conventional representation of such a being, in human form, with wings, usually in white robes.
a messenger, especially of g-d.
a person who performs a mission of g-d or acts as if sent by g-d:
an angel of mercy.
a person having qualities generally attributed to an angel, as beauty, purity, or kindliness.
a person whose actions and thoughts are consistently virtuous.
an attendant or guardian spirit.
a deceased person whose soul is regarded as having been accepted into heaven.
a person who provides financial backing for some undertaking, as a play, political campaign, or business venture: a group of angels entered the mix, providing george the leverage he needed to take the startup company in a new direction.
angels seek deals that they can exit in less than a decade.
an english gold coin issued from 1470 to 1634, varying in value from 6s. 8d. to 10s. and bearing on its obverse a figure of the archangel michael killing a dragon.
slang. an image on a radar screen caused by a low-flying object, as a bird.
informal. to provide financial backing for:
two wealthy friends angeled the broadway revival of his show.
a male or female given name.
contemporary examples

in our naivete, we sometimes go rushing in where angels fear to tread.
life after aipac’s false dichotomies angela zimmann september 3, 2013

he has kept “the devil way down in the hole,” writes horspool, by seeming to have done a deal with the angels.
the best of brit lit peter stothard april 29, 2009

one daunting thing you set out to do in angels and ages is to describe, through the fog of history, what lincoln was like.
the evolution of darwin and lincoln the daily beast february 2, 2009

more than just a literary study, angels and ages allows gopnik to think about what the two men might have been like to know.
the evolution of darwin and lincoln the daily beast february 2, 2009

luqman and khader said that within the religion there are also seven angels and a belief in reincarnation.
fighting back with faith: inside the yezidis’ iraqi temple michael luongo august 20, 2014

historical examples

no wonder these wanderers felt that angels had screened them on their way.
history of the moravian church j. e. hutton

there stood margaret, agitated, but unabashed as the angels that come in dreams.
deerbrook harriet martineau

i will not paint for you angels or imps, because i do not see them.
thackeray anthony trollope

for this cause ought the woman to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels.
folkways william graham sumner

according to one legend, the fairies were angels who had remained neutral during the great war in heaven.
ulster folklore elizabeth andrews

(theol) one of a cl-ss of spiritual beings attendant upon g-d. in medieval angelology they are divided by rank into nine orders: seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations (or dominions), virtues, powers, princ-p-lities (or princedoms), archangels, and angels
a divine messenger from g-d
a guardian spirit
a conventional representation of any of these beings, depicted in human form with wings
(informal) a person, esp a woman, who is kind, pure, or beautiful
(informal) an investor in a venture, esp a backer of a theatrical production
also called angel-n-ble. a former english gold coin with a representation of the archangel michael on it, first minted in edward iv’s reign
(informal) an unexplained signal on a radar screen

14c. fusion of old english engel (with hard -g-) and old french angele, both from latin angelus, from greek angelos “messenger, envoy, one that announces,” possibly related to angaros “mounted courier,” both from an unknown oriental word (watkins compares sanskrit ajira- “swift;” klein suggests semitic sources). used in scriptural translations for hebrew mal’akh (yehowah) “messenger (of jehovah),” from base l-‘-k “to send.” an old english word for it was aerendgast, literally “errand-spirit.”

of persons, “loving; lovely,” by 1590s. the medieval gold coin (a new issue of the n-ble, first struck 1465 by edward vi) was so called for the image of archangel michael slaying the dragon, which was stamped on it. it was the coin given to patients who had been “touched” for the king’s evil. angel food cake is from 1881; angel dust “phencyclidine” is from 1968.

spirits who live in heaven with g-d; also the devils of h-ll, who are angels fallen from goodness. in the bible, angels are often sent to earth, sometimes with a human appearance, to bring the messages of g-d to people, to guide and protect them, or to execute g-d’s punishments. (see abraham and isaac, annunciation, cherubim, daniel in the lions’ den, gabriel, jacob’s ladder, lot’s wife, lucifer, michael, p-ssover, plagues of egypt, satan, and sodom and gomorrah.)


a person who contributes to a politician’s campaign fund (1920+)
a financial contributor to any enterprise, esp a stage production; b-tter-and-egg man (1920s+ theater)
a thief’s or confidence man’s victim; mark, patsy (underworld)
a h-m-s-xual male (1930s+ h-m-s-xuals)
a vague and illusory image on a radar screen, often due to bird flights, rare atmospheric conditions, or electronic defects
a helicopter that hovers near an aircraft carrier to rescue aircrew who crash into the water (vietnam war navy)


: my doctor angeled one of his friend’s plays

a word signifying, both in the hebrew and greek, a “messenger,” and hence employed to denote any agent g-d 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 g-d 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 g-d. (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 p-ssages 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. 1:16). (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 t-tles that are applied to them (“sons of g-d,” 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. 19:10). (3.) their functions are manifold. (a) in the widest sense they are agents of g-d’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 g-d’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 g-d (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 p-ssages (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 g-d 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 1:19).


fools rush in where angels fear to tread
on the side of the angels

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