[dahy-ab-uh-liz-uh m]


  1. action aided or caused by the devil; sorcery; witchcraft.
  2. the character or condition of a devil.
  3. a doctrine concerning devils.
  4. a belief in or worship of devils.
action befitting the devil; deviltry.

Origin of diabolism

1600–10; < Greek diábol(os) devil + -ism
Related formsdi·ab·o·list, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for diabolism

Historical Examples of diabolism

  • A wizard was understandable; but this was diabolism beyond sanity.

    The Hour of the Dragon

    Robert E. Howard

  • Here were signs of grace on one side, and diabolism on the other.

    A Breeze from the Woods, 2nd Ed.

    William Chauncey Bartlett

  • It is merely the diabolism of instinct that prompts the young to believe that the race is all.


    Gertrude Atherton

  • Diabolism seemed to be a cheerful, even a wholesome, influence in his life.

    Seven Men

    Max Beerbohm

  • It has troubled me, said Herring, but helped me, to hear that Frye was a channel for that diabolism.

    The Religio-Medical Masquerade

    Frederick William Peabody

British Dictionary definitions for diabolism



  1. activities designed to enlist the aid of devils, esp in witchcraft or sorcery
  2. worship of devils or beliefs and teachings concerning them
  3. the nature of devils
character or conduct that is devilish or fiendish; devilry
Derived Formsdiabolist, noun
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 diabolism

c.1600s, from Ecclesiastical Greek diabolos "devil" (see devil (n.)) + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper