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seraph

[ser-uh f]
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noun, plural ser·aphs, ser·a·phim [ser-uh-fim] /ˈsɛr ə fɪm/.
  1. one of the celestial beings hovering above God's throne in Isaiah's vision. Isa. 6.
  2. a member of the highest order of angels, often represented as a child's head with wings above, below, and on each side.

Origin of seraph

First recorded in 1660–70; back formation from seraphim
Related formsser·aph·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for seraph

Historical Examples

  • On the contrary, hope with seraph wings fanned him blissfully.

    Doctor Luttrell's First Patient</p>

    Rosa Nouchette Carey

  • I am not perfect, by any means: and really, I feel oppressed by the company of a seraph.

    In Convent Walls

    Emily Sarah Holt

  • He replied, 'Madam, the kalmia has precisely the colours of a seraph's wing.'

  • For Tommy has the face of a seraph with the heart of a hardy Norseman.

    April's Lady

    Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

  • Mrs. Shaw entered, no longer the seraph of twenty months ago.

    The Invader

    Margaret L. Woods


British Dictionary definitions for seraph

seraph

noun plural -aphs or -aphim (-əfɪm)
  1. theol a member of the highest order of angels in the celestial hierarchies, often depicted as the winged head of a child
  2. Old Testament one of the fiery six-winged beings attendant upon Jehovah in Isaiah's vision (Isaiah 6)

Word Origin

C17: back formation from plural seraphim, via Late Latin from Hebrew
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 seraph

n.

1667, first used by Milton (probably on analogy of cherub/cherubim), back-formed singular from Old English seraphim (plural), from Late Latin seraphim, from Greek seraphim, from Hebrew seraphim (only in Isa. vi), plural of *saraph (which does not occur in the Bible), probably literally "the burning one," from saraph "it burned." Seraphs were traditionally regarded as burning or flaming angels, though the word seems to have some etymological sense of "flying," perhaps from confusion with the root of Arabic sharafa "be lofty." Some scholars identify it with a word found in other passages interpreted as "fiery flying serpent."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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