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[mef-uh-stof-uh-leez] /ˌmɛf əˈstɒf əˌliz/
Medieval Demonology. one of the seven chief devils and the tempter of Faust.
Also, Mephisto
[muh-fis-toh] /məˈfɪs toʊ/ (Show IPA)
Related forms
Mephistophelian, Mephistophelean
[‐stuh-fee-lee-uh n] /‐stəˈfi li ən/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Mephistopheles
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mephistopheles, or Mrs. Felix Lorraine; one or the other, perhaps both.

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
  • Possibly, like Mephistopheles in Faust, he may retaliate on his adversaries.

    The Republic Plato
  • Corporal Penington was, I believe, as usual, the inspiring Mephistopheles of the affair.

    Memoirs Charles Godfrey Leland
  • "My dear fellow, I am not Mephistopheles," laughed the narrow-eyed doctor.

    The Doctor of Pimlico William Le Queux
  • Mephistopheles himself is the most interesting of all Devils.

    Visions and Revisions John Cowper Powys
  • The Chancellor looked like Mephistopheles behind Margaret in the church.

    Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay George Otto Trevelyan
  • He would have been to Faust a more dangerous tempter than Mephistopheles.

    Zanoni Edward Bulwer Lytton
  • There is only one Mephistopheles; but he is protean in shape.

  • We need no Mephistopheles to accomplish these marvels every day!

    A Strange Story, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
British Dictionary definitions for Mephistopheles


a devil in medieval mythology and the one to whom Faust sold his soul in the Faust legend
Derived Forms
Mephistophelean, Mephistophelian (ˌmɛfɪstəˈfiːlɪən) adjective
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 Mephistopheles

1590s, the evil spirit to whom Faust sold his soul in the German legend, from German (1587), of unknown origin. According to the speculation of eminent Göthe scholar K.J. Schröer (1886) it is a compound of Hebrew mephitz "destroyer" + tophel "liar" (short for tophel sheqer, literally "falsehood plasterer;" cf. Job xiii:4). Klein writes that the names of devils in the Middle Ages "are in most cases derived from Hebrew."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Mephistopheles in Culture
Mephistopheles [(mef-i-stof-uh-leez)]

In the drama Faust by Goethe, a devil who tempts Faust into selling his soul to the powers of darkness. Mephistopheles also appears, with his name spelled Mephistophilis, in the sixteenth-century English play Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe.

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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