[eyn-juh l]


verb (used with object), an·geled, an·gel·ing or, esp. British an·gelled, an·gel·ling.

Informal. to provide financial backing for: Two wealthy friends angeled the Broadway revival of his show.

Origin of angel

before 950; 1890–95 for def 9; Middle English a(u)ngel (< Anglo-French, Old French) < Late Latin angelus < New Testament Greek ángelos messenger of God, special use of Greek ángelos messenger; replacing Old English engel < Latin, as above
Can be confusedangel angle


[eyn-juh l; Spanish ahn-hel]


a male or female given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for angels

Contemporary Examples of angels

Historical Examples of angels

  • That night there was joy in the presence of the angels of God over a new-born soul.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • And the angels waiting for them on the bank like laundresses with their clean shirts!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Such ideas as Paradise, Adam and Eve, and angels, are getting obsolete.

  • If only Moxy—but he was gone where the angels came from—and theirs was a hard life!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Some such patient detachment must be that of the angels who keep the Great Record.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for angels



theol one of a class of spiritual beings attendant upon God. In medieval angelology they are divided by rank into nine orders: seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations (or dominions), virtues, powers, principalities (or princedoms), archangels, and angels
a divine messenger from God
a guardian spirit
a conventional representation of any of these beings, depicted in human form with wings
informal a person, esp a woman, who is kind, pure, or beautiful
informal an investor in a venture, esp a backer of a theatrical production
Also called: angel-noble a former English gold coin with a representation of the archangel Michael on it, first minted in Edward IV's reign
informal an unexplained signal on a radar screen

Word Origin for angel

Old English, from Late Latin angelus, from Greek angelos messenger
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 angels



14c. fusion of Old English engel (with hard -g-) and Old French angele, both from Latin angelus, from Greek angelos "messenger, envoy, one that announces," possibly related to angaros "mounted courier," both from an unknown Oriental word (Watkins compares Sanskrit ajira- "swift;" Klein suggests Semitic sources). Used in Scriptural translations for Hebrew mal'akh (yehowah) "messenger (of Jehovah)," from base l-'-k "to send." An Old English word for it was aerendgast, literally "errand-spirit."

Of persons, "loving; lovely," by 1590s. The medieval gold coin (a new issue of the noble, first struck 1465 by Edward VI) was so called for the image of archangel Michael slaying the dragon, which was stamped on it. It was the coin given to patients who had been "touched" for the King's Evil. Angel food cake is from 1881; angel dust "phencyclidine" is from 1968.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

angels in Culture


Spirits who live in heaven with God; also the devils of hell, who are angels fallen from goodness. In the Bible (see also Bible), angels are often sent to Earth, sometimes with a human appearance, to bring the messages of God to people, to guide and protect them, or to execute God's punishments. (See Abraham and Isaac, Annunciation, cherubim, Daniel in the lions' den, Gabriel, Jacob's ladder, Lot's wife, Lucifer, Michael, Passover (see also Passover), plagues of Egypt, Satan, and Sodom and Gomorrah.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with angels


see fools rush in where angels fear to tread; on the side of the angels.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.