Definition of angel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈeɪndʒ(ə)l/


1A spiritual being believed to act as an attendant, agent, or messenger of God, conventionally represented in human form with wings and a long robe: God sent an angel to talk to Gideon the Angel of Death
More example sentences
  • Vera is so touching that she tears at your heart and clouds your judgment as to whether she is an angel of mercy or an angel of death.
  • Flapping his great wings like a real angel of death come for the new-born he inhaled deeply, his eyes becoming two gleaming points in the dark sky.
  • He sends forth the angels as His messengers, with two, three or four pairs of wings.
1.1An attendant spirit, especially a benevolent one: there was an angel watching over me See also guardian angel.
More example sentences
  • Ultimately, demons are the manifested expression of our fears, while angels - and spirit guides, etc - are as real as us and are with us to help us grow.
  • They were my family's angels and they watched over my kids so they didn't have to be taken into care.
  • Perhaps he really does need an angel watching over his career, especially after splitting from his regular co-writer Guy Chambers.
messenger of God, divine/heavenly messenger, divine being, spirit
1.2(In traditional Christian angelology) a being of the lowest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy.
Example sentences
  • For instance, in order to draw an angel, a pure soul in heaven, Frank Floreani shows a child's head with wings attached to the neck.
  • Depending on what potentiality he develops, he may become a plant, an animal, a celestial being, an angel, or he may even be unified with God himself.
  • The third comprises the angels, whose law is Celestial.
1.3 (Angel) short for Hell's Angel.
2A person of exemplary conduct or virtue: women were then seen as angels or whores I know I’m no angel
More example sentences
  • In the opening lines, the reader is thrust straight into the clammy, dark, bitter atmosphere of a pawnbroker's on Christmas Day, run by a man who immediately admits that he is no angel.
  • Mick Pritchard is the first to admit he's no angel.
  • The word is that while this guy is no angel, the arrest is politically motivated, one group of thugs trying to take over the assets of others.
paragon of virtue, saint, gem, treasure, nonpareil;
darling, dear
informal star, brick, one in a million
2.1Used in similes or comparisons to refer to a person’s outstanding beauty, qualities, or abilities: you sang like an angel
More example sentences
  • Her white nightshift makes her look like an angel compared to the darkly dressed men.
  • It's all guesswork this week, though, because we don't know who is able to dance like an angel skipping across the clouds, and who can only lurch around like a wonky 1930s robot.
  • And they will be praying that striker Michael Ricketts - the whites' goal-scoring saviour - plays like an angel as well.
2.2Used in approval to a person who is kind or helpful: be an angel and let us come in
2.3Used as a term of endearment: I miss you too, angel
More example sentences
  • The episodes, three times a week are ONE HOUR EACH, my sweet angel!
  • I'm sorry for you, my sweet angel, but lately passenger planes and jets do manage to get people from one end of the earth in under two days.
  • I felt pretty low while I was doing this sub-menial task, but a job's a job, and you can't feed yourself, my angel.
3 (also angel investor or business angel) A person who supports a business financially, typically one who invests private capital in a small or newly established enterprise: the longer it takes you to get your product into the marketplace, the longer it will be until the angels get their money back
More example sentences
  • The network draws on the expertise of intermediaries such as lawyers, patent specialists, corporate financiers, business angels, consultants and other advisers.
  • By the same token, your company's future returns to the angels are not just financial.
  • They now have a leading role investing alongside other venture fund managers, business angels, banks, and other finance providers.
3.1A financial backer of a theatrical production: every year we raise the money for the next season and we are always looking for an angel
More example sentences
  • The arts have always relied on patrons and angels, whether they be private or public.
  • The angels who used to back theatrical productions for the love of the craft have given way to market-driven professionals in all art fields who insist on an art industry based on good business decisions.
  • We were told she was an 'angel', a theatrical term for a backer.
backer, sponsor, supporter, benefactor, subsidizer, promoter, patron;
guarantor, underwriter
rare Maecenas
4A former English coin minted between the reigns of Edward IV and Charles I and bearing the figure of the archangel Michael killing a dragon.
5 (angels) informal An aircraft’s altitude (often used with a numeral indicating thousands of feet): we rendezvous at angels nine
6 informal An unexplained radar echo.



the angel in the house

chiefly ironic A woman who is completely devoted to her husband and family: it’s a bit late to be coming on like the angel in the house now
Phrase from a poem by Coventry Patmore
More example sentences
  • A woman, the letter suggests, ‘exists ‘for the other’ ‘and will be most fulfilled by serving as what feminists have called ‘the angel in the house’ who meets the needs of her husband and children.
  • Legal notions of spousal unity and the sentimentalization of a woman's role as ‘the angel in the house’ have often served to undercut married women's agency and autonomy.
  • I wrote here about sex differences that don't rely on some mythos of the ‘angel in the house.’

on the side of the angels

On the side of what is right: we’re not in the business of polluting the environment, we’re on the side of the angels
More example sentences
  • The police are also on the side of the angels, certainly according to a spokeswoman: ‘[People] have a legitimate right to be protesters and we will uphold their democratic right to protest.’
  • But it would be a complete mistake to think that liberals in general, and I in particular, are moved by such motives, or that we need to be reminded that America has more often stood on the side of the angels.
  • If you prefer a version of history where Scots are on the side of the angels, the British Museum argues that Elgin quite legally rescued the sculptures, prevented their destruction, and saw that they were preserved for posterity.


Old English engel, ultimately via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek angelos 'messenger'; superseded in Middle English by forms from Old French angele.

  • Angels are to be found in the traditions of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and other religions. They are messengers from God, and the word angel comes ultimately from Greek angelos ‘messenger’. An angel was also the name given to an old English gold coin (known in full as the angel-noble) minted between the reigns of Edward IV and Charles I and stamped with the image of the Archangel Michael slaying a dragon. To be on the side of the angels is to be on the side of what is right. In a speech given at Oxford in 1864 the British statesman Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881) referred to the controversy that was then raging about Charles Darwin's book On the Origin of Species, saying: ‘Is man an ape or an angel?…I am on the side of the angels.’ The plant angelica (early 16th century) is the ‘angelic herb’ because it was believed to work against poison and disease. See also angle

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