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Mephistopheles

[mef-uh-stof-uh-leez]
noun
  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

Related Words

ogre, barbarian, beast, devil, archangel, Mephistopheles, Beelzebub, Lucifer, demon, Antichrist, rogue, scamp, imp, dastard, adversary, brute, knave, villain, Satan, hellion

Examples from the Web for mephistopheles

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Mephistopheles, or Mrs. Felix Lorraine; one or the other, perhaps both.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • Possibly, like Mephistopheles in Faust, he may retaliate on his adversaries.

  • Corporal Penington was, I believe, as usual, the inspiring Mephistopheles of the affair.

    Memoirs

    Charles Godfrey Leland

  • "My dear fellow, I am not Mephistopheles," laughed the narrow-eyed doctor.

    The Doctor of Pimlico

    William Le Queux

  • Mephistopheles himself is the most interesting of all Devils.

    Visions and Revisions

    John Cowper Powys


British Dictionary definitions for mephistopheles

Mephistopheles

Mephisto (məˈfɪstəʊ)

noun
  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 mephistopheles

Mephistopheles

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

mephistopheles in Culture

Mephistopheles

[(mef-i-stof-uh-leez)]

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.