- Theology. the spirit of evil personified; the devil; Satan.
- (in Milton’s Paradise Lost) one of the fallen angels.
- a demon mentioned frequently in apocalyptic literature: identified in the Christian tradition with the devil or Satan
- (in the Old Testament and rabbinical literature) worthlessness or wickedness
early 13c., from Hebrew bel’yya’al “destruction,” literally “worthless,” from b’li “without” + ya’al “use.” Wickedness as an evil force (Deut. xiii:13); later treated as a proper name for Satan (2 Cor. vi:15), though Milton made him one of the fallen angels.