[cher-uh b]

noun, plural cher·ubs for 3, 4; cher·u·bim [cher-uh-bim, -yoo-bim] /ˈtʃɛr ə bɪm, -yʊ bɪm/ 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.


Nearby words

  1. cherry-red spot myoclonus syndrome,
  2. cherrystone,
  3. chersonese,
  4. chert,
  5. chertsey,
  6. cherubfish,
  7. cherubic,
  8. cherubicon,
  9. cherubim,
  10. cherubini

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 formsche·ru·bic [chuh-roo-bik] /tʃəˈru bɪk/, che·ru·bi·cal, adjectivecher·ub·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cherubim

British Dictionary definitions for cherubim


noun plural cherubs or 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 Formscherubic (tʃəˈruːbɪk) or cherubical, adjectivecherubically, adverb

Word Origin for cherub

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

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

Culture definitions for cherubim


[(chair-uh-bim, chair-yuh-bim)]

sing. cherub

One of the groups of the angels.


God is often described in the Old Testament as sitting on a throne supported by cherubim.


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.