Medieval Demonology. one of the seven chief devils and the tempter of Faust.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mephistophelean

Contemporary Examples of mephistophelean

Historical Examples of mephistophelean

  • But reflection brought a Mephistophelean suggestion of comfort.

    The Burglars' Club

    Henry A. Hering

  • His mephistophelean eyebrows were raised interrogatively, and he was smiling so as to exhibit a row of uneven yellow teeth.

    The Yellow Claw

    Sax Rohmer

  • The bearded man stood ready, and exchanged a glance with his Mephistophelean companion, who was behind the doctor now.

    The Bag of Diamonds

    George Manville Fenn

  • In a flash there recurred to him every incident of those dramatic interviews with the Mephistophelean doctor.

    The Doctor of Pimlico

    William Le Queux

British Dictionary definitions for mephistophelean


Mephisto (məˈfɪstəʊ)


a devil in medieval mythology and the one to whom Faust sold his soul in the Faust legend
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 mephistophelean


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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mephistophelean 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.

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.