1. A typically benevolent celestial being that acts as an intermediary between heaven and earth, especially in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism.
2. A representation of such a being, especially in Christianity, conventionally in the image of a human figure with a halo and wings.
3. angels Christianity The last of the nine orders of angels in medieval angelology. From the highest to the lowest in rank, the orders are: seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations or dominions, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels, and angels.
4. A guardian spirit or guiding influence.
a. A kind and lovable person.
b. One who manifests goodness, purity, and selflessness.
6. A financial backer of an enterprise, especially a dramatic production or a political campaign.
[Middle English aungel, from Old English engel or Old French angele, both from Late Latin angelus, from Late Greek angelos, from Greek, messenger.]
an·gelic (ăn-jĕlĭk), an·geli·cal adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.