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cherub

[cher-uh b]
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noun, plural cher·ubs for 3, 4; cher·u·bim [cher-uh-bim, -yoo-bim] /ˈtʃɛr ə bɪm, -yʊ bɪm/ for 1, 2.
  1. a celestial being. Gen. 3:24; Ezek. 1, 10.
  2. Theology. a member of the second order of angels, often represented as a beautiful rosy-cheeked child with wings.
  3. a beautiful or innocent person, especially a child.
  4. a person, especially a child, with a sweet, chubby, innocent face.

Origin of cherub

before 900; Middle English < Latin < Greek < Hebrew kərūbh; replacing Middle English cherubin, Old English c(h)erubin, cerubim (all singular) < Latin cherūbim < Greek < Hebrew kərūbhīm (plural)
Related formsche·ru·bic [chuh-roo-bik] /tʃəˈru bɪk/, che·ru·bi·cal, adjectivecher·ub·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cherub

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The Cherub waited for an explanation of these contradictory remarks.

    Thoroughbreds

    W. A. Fraser

  • The Cherub pursed his fat round lips in a soft whistle of enlightenment.

    Thoroughbreds

    W. A. Fraser

  • I wish it to be a little of a citizen, before it is quite a cherub.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Go to bed and sleep like the cherub you are, while I expiate here with my pipe.

    Blue-grass and Broadway

    Maria Thompson Daviess

  • A decided case of 'up aloft': he looks quite the cherub, does he not?

    Frank Fairlegh

    Frank E. Smedley


British Dictionary definitions for cherub

cherub

noun plural cherubs or cherubim (ˈtʃɛrəbɪm, -ʊbɪm)
  1. theol a member of the second order of angels, whose distinctive gift is knowledge, often represented as a winged child or winged head of a child
  2. an innocent or sweet child
Derived Formscherubic (tʃəˈruːbɪk) or cherubical, adjectivecherubically, adverb

Word Origin

Old English, from Hebrew kěrūbh
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cherub

n.

late 14c. as an order of angels, from Late Latin cherub, from Greek cheroub, from Hebrew kerubh (plural kerubhim) "winged angel," perhaps related to Akkadian karubu "to bless," karibu "one who blesses," an epithet of the bull-colossus. Old English had cerubin, from the Greek plural.

The cherubim, a common feature of ancient Near Eastern mythology, are not to be confused with the round-cheeked darlings of Renaissance iconography. The root of the terms either means "hybrid" or, by an inversion of consonants, "mount," "steed," and they are winged beasts, probably of awesome aspect, on which the sky god of the old Canaanite myths and of the poetry of Psalms goes riding through the air. [Robert Alter, "The Five Books of Moses," 2004, commentary on Gen. iii:24]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper