supernatural being, generally malevolent in character. In general, the more civilized pagan societies came to consider demons as powerful, supernatural beings who lacked the dignity of gods and who, depending on the circumstance, might be either benevolent or malevolent in their dealings with men. Some demons, like the Greek Pan, were nature spirits; others were guardians of the home or fields or watchers over travelers; still others were spirits of disease and insanity or dream spirits. Some demons were considered to be intermediaries between men and the gods. It was not until the development of late Hebraic and Christian thinking that demons came to represent the unqualified malevolence so common in European demonology of the 16th and 17th cent. This period was a high point in the study of demons, in the speculation on their nature, number, and specific fiendishness. The list compiled in 1589 by a demonologist named Binsfield was considered to be highly authoritative; in it he listed the following major demons and their particular evils: Lucifer (pride), Mammon (avarice), Asmodeus or Ashmodai (lechery), Satan (anger), Beelzebub (gluttony), Leviathan (envy), and Belphegor (sloth). The widespread and ancient belief in demons is still a strong force in many regions of the world today. See spiritism
See R. H. Robbins, The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology (1959); H. A. Relly, The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft (1968); F. Gettings, Dictionary of Demons (1988).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
What does it mean when you dream about a demon?
Dreams of demons are not always dreams of evil, or even symbols of torment. Devils can, for example, represent intelligence, cunning (“devilishly clever!”), and even sexuality (“You devil, you”). These traditional representatives of the dark side often symbolize the unconscious, especially one’s shadow self.
The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
demon carrying people away, personifying a whirlwind. [Gk. Myth.: Jobes, 40]
or afrit gigantic jinn, powerful and malicious. [Muslim Myth.: Benét, 13]
the snake god; most important of demons. [Ancient Egypt. Rel.: Parrinder, 24]
king of fiends. [Hebrew Myth.: Leach, 83]
king of the devils. [Talmudic Legend: Benét, 58]
bird that is the devil incarnate. [Western Folklore: Mercatante, 181]
evil being, demonic in nature. [Animal Symbolism: Mercatante, 46]
feared as spirit of evil. [African Folklore: Jobes, 382; Mercatante, 9]
mere mention of his name brings death and destruction. [Western Folklore: Benét, 263]
ferocious spirits under sovereignty of Eblis. [Persian Myth.: LLEI, I: 326]
Great Giant of Henllys
evil water spirit; dragged men under water. [Scot. Folklore: Briggs, 175]
ghost of dead man turned demon. [Br. Folklore: Briggs, 199–200]
demon in the form of a man. [Western Folklore: Briggs, 232]
(genii) class of demon assuming animal/human form. [Arab. Myth.: Benét, 13, 521]
nursery fiend invoked to frighten children. [Br. Folklore: Wheeler, 265]
demon in the form of a woman. [Western Folklore: Briggs, 232]
former symbol of demonic evil. [Animal Symbolism: Mercatante, 26]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
demon (operating system)
(Often used equivalently to daemon
especially in the Unix
world, where the latter spelling and
pronunciation is considered mildly archaic). A program or
part of a program which is not invoked explicitly, but that
lies dormant waiting for some condition(s) to occur.
they use "demon" for part of a program and "daemon"
for an operating system
Demons (parts of programs) are particularly common in AI
programs. For example, a knowledge
might implement inference rules as demons. Whenever a new
piece of knowledge was added, various demons would activate
(which demons depends on the particular piece of data) and
would create additional pieces of knowledge by applying their
respective inference rules to the original piece. These new
pieces could in turn activate more demons as the inferences
filtered down through chains of logic. Meanwhile, the main
program could continue with whatever its primary task was.
This is similar to the triggers used in relational databases.
The use of this term may derive from "Maxwell's Demons" -
minute beings which can reverse the normal flow of heat from a
hot body to a cold body by only allowing fast moving molecules
to go from the cold body to the hot one and slow molecules
from hot to cold. The solution to this apparent thermodynamic
paradox is that the demons would require an external supply of
energy to do their work and it is only in the absence of such
a supply that heat must necessarily flow from hot to cold.
Walt Bunch believes the term comes from the demons in Oliver
Selfridge's paper "Pandemonium", MIT 1958, which was named
after the capital of Hell in Milton's "Paradise Lost".
Selfridge likened neural cells firing in response to input
patterns to the chaos of millions of demons shrieking in
Demon Internet Ltd.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)