• synonyms


  1. Medieval Demonology. one of the seven chief devils and the tempter of Faust.
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Also Me·phis·to [muh-fis-toh] /məˈfɪs toʊ/.
Related formsMeph·is·to·phe·li·an, Meph·is·to·phe·le·an [‐stuh-fee-lee-uh n] /‐stəˈfi li ən/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mephisto

Historical Examples

  • They say there was a Mephisto so good he would have deceived the devil himself.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • And you are a demagogue, and a demigod, and a Jew, and a Mephisto!

  • The rhythm of the Mephisto serenade is too good for this world.

    Musical Criticisms

    Arthur Johnstone

  • Not a bit like Mephisto: much more like the Miller of the Dee.

    God and my Neighbour

    Robert Blatchford

  • I allowed myself to whisper to the man with me: "Mephisto and Faust!"

    The Last Miracle

    M. P. Shiel

British Dictionary definitions for mephisto


Mephisto (məˈfɪstəʊ)

  1. a devil in medieval mythology and the one to whom Faust sold his soul in the Faust legend
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Derived FormsMephistophelean or Mephistophelian (ˌmɛfɪstəˈfiːlɪən), adjective
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 mephisto


shortened form of Mephistopheles.

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1590s, the evil spirit to whom Faust sold his soul in the German legend, from German (1587), of unknown origin. According to the speculation of eminent Göthe scholar K.J. Schröer (1886) it is a compound of Hebrew mephitz "destroyer" + tophel "liar" (short for tophel sheqer, literally "falsehood plasterer;" cf. Job xiii:4). Klein writes that the names of devils in the Middle Ages "are in most cases derived from Hebrew."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mephisto in Culture



In the drama Faust by Goethe, a devil who tempts Faust into selling his soul to the powers of darkness. Mephistopheles also appears, with his name spelled Mephistophilis, in the sixteenth-century English play Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe.

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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.