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[ser-uh f] /ˈsɛr əf/
noun, plural seraphs, seraphim
[ser-uh-fim] /ˈsɛr ə fɪm/ (Show IPA)
one of the celestial beings hovering above God's throne in Isaiah's vision. Isa. 6.
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 forms
seraphlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for seraph
Historical Examples
  • On the contrary, hope with seraph wings fanned him blissfully.

    Doctor Luttrell's First Patient

    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.'

    Evolution, Old & New Samuel Butler
  • 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
  • The Arabs name it the seraph, and indeed, that is the origin of its now best-known English name.

    Heads and Tales Various
  • It was The seraph who spoke at last, his hands clasped across his stomach.

    Explorers of the Dawn Mazo de la Roche
  • Our friend had The seraph between his knees, and was gazing at the back of his head.

    Explorers of the Dawn Mazo de la Roche
  • The seraph stood like a rumpled robin where she had deposited him.

    Explorers of the Dawn Mazo de la Roche
  • "If he could see a lady-worm he'd like," stipulated The seraph.

    Explorers of the Dawn Mazo de la Roche
British Dictionary definitions for seraph


noun (pl) -aphs, -aphim (-əfɪm)
(theol) a member of the highest order of angels in the celestial hierarchies, often depicted as the winged head of a child
(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
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Word Origin and History for seraph

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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