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[cher-uh b] /ˈtʃɛr əb/
noun, plural cherubs for 3, 4; cherubim
[cher-uh-bim, -yoo-bim] /ˈtʃɛr ə bɪm, -yʊ bɪm/ (Show IPA),
for 1, 2.
a celestial being. Gen. 3:24; Ezek. 1, 10.
Theology. a member of the second order of angels, often represented as a beautiful rosy-cheeked child with wings.
a beautiful or innocent person, especially a child.
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 forms
[chuh-roo-bik] /tʃəˈru bɪk/ (Show IPA),
cherubical, adjective
cherublike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cherubim
Historical Examples
  • An' then there was pomegranates an' cherubim, an' as for silver an' gold, they were as common as dirt.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • The cherubim and Seraphim have wings that elevate them above our zenith.

  • But this I affirm to you, Elmer; of politics I am innocent like there never was a cherubim!

    The Crimson Tide Robert W. Chambers
  • Willingly, master, and may it be like the sword of the cherubim, to guard and protect you to-day!

    The Golden Dog William Kirby
  • Am I to maintain that black beetles are cherubim, because I am a black beetle?

    Out in the Forty-Five Emily Sarah Holt
  • Shall it not come to pass that, hereafter, she too shall have a lover among the cherubim?

    Ralph the Heir

    Anthony Trollope
  • The cherubim stood in the holy of holies as guardians of the ark of the covenant.

    History of Ancient Art Franz von Reber
  • A chorus of cherubim and seraphim could not have left her more uplifted.

    Mary Ware in Texas

    Annie F. Johnston
  • But you looked as if you were thinking of angels and cherubim and things, Aunt Jane.

    Aunt Jane Jennette Lee
  • No doubt, somewhere aloft, the cherubim were already giggling.

    The Business of Life Robert W. Chambers
British Dictionary definitions for cherubim


noun (pl) cherubs, cherubim (ˈtʃɛrəbɪm; -ʊbɪm)
(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
an innocent or sweet child
Derived Forms
cherubic (tʃəˈruːbɪk), cherubical, adjective
cherubically, 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
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Word Origin and History for cherubim



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
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cherubim in Culture
cherubim [(chair-uh-bim, chair-yuh-bim)]

sing. cherub

One of the groups of the angels.

Note: God is often described in the Old Testament as sitting on a throne supported by cherubim.
Note: In the art of the Renaissance, cherubim (or cherubs) are depicted as chubby babies with wings. Hence, a person with a chubby, childlike face may be called “cherubic.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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