AskDefine | Define cherub

Dictionary Definition



1 a sweet innocent baby
2 an angel of the second order whose gift is knowledge; usually portrayed as a winged child [also: cherubim (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Cherub



Ultimately from Hebrew כרוב.




  1. A winged creature represented over 90 times in the Bible as attending on God, later seen as the second highest order of angels, ranked above thrones and below seraphim. First mention is in Genesis 3:24
  2. A statue or other depiction of such a being, typically in the form of a winged child.
  3. A person, especially a child, seen as being particularly innocent or angelic.

Derived terms


  • Finnish: kerubi
  • French: chérubin
  • German: Cherub
  • Hebrew: כרוּב (keruv)
  • Italian: cherubino
  • Japanese: 智天使 (ちてんし, chitenshi)
  • Latin: cherub
  • Russian: херувим (kheruvím)
  • Spanish: querubín



cherub m (Plural: cherubim or cherubin)
  1. The second highest order of angel in Christian angelology, ranked above thrones and below seraphim

Extensive Definition

A cherub (Heb. כרוב, pl. כרובים, eng. trans kruv, pl. kruvim, lat. cherub[us], pl cherubi[m]) (sometimes pronounced the way it is spelled) is a supernatural entity mentioned several times in the Old Testament (specifically the Torah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah), in the Book of Revelation (a New Testament text), and in numerous modern texts, such as Paradise Lost.
The correct plural can be written as cherubim or cherubs. Because most English speakers are unfamiliar with Hebrew plural formation, the word cherubims is sometimes used as a plural, such as in the King James BibleGenesis 3:24 (King James Version) at Bible

Religious perspectives

Orthodox Judaism

Orthodox Judaism includes belief in the existence of angels, including Cherubim within the Jewish angelic hierarchy, as does Conservative Judaism, although some factions in the latter interpret certain liturgical references to Cherubim more figuratively. Yose ha-Gelili holds, when the Birkat HaMazon (Grace after Meals) is recited by at least ten thousand seated at one meal, the special blessing "Blessed is Ha-Shem our God, the God of Israel, who dwells between the Cherubim" is added to the regular liturgy.
The word is also used to refer to the depictions of Cherubim in Solomon's Temple, including the two cherubim that were part of the Ark of the Covenant. The Book of Numbers depicts the voice of God as speaking to Moses from between the two Cherubim atop the Ark ().
Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism generally either drop references to angels or interpret them metaphorically. However, in Kabbalah and in the tenets of Hassidic Judaism and Jewish mysticism, there has long been a strong belief in Cherubim, with the Cherubim, and other angels, regarded as having mystical roles. The Zohar, a highly significant collection of books in Jewish mysticism, states that the Cherubim were led by one of their number, named Kerubiel.


In Catholic theology, as per the ideas presented in the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius, the cherubim are second highest rank in the angelic hierarchy, below the Seraphim. In western art, Putti are sometimes mistaken for Cherubim, although they look nothing alike. They are also mentioned in the Bible in the book of Genesis (Gen. 3:24) as the angels who guarded the east side of the Garden of Eden with "a flaming sword which turned every way".

See also



  • De Vaux, Roland (tr. John McHugh), Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions (NY, McGraw-Hill, 1961)
  • Moses Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed Book III, Chap XLV. Dover Pubications. Paperback edition. p 356.
  • Wright, G. Ernest, Biblical Archaeology (Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1957)
cherub in Bulgarian: Херувим
cherub in Czech: Cherub
cherub in Danish: Kerub
cherub in German: Cherub
cherub in Modern Greek (1453-): Χερουβείμ
cherub in Spanish: Querubín
cherub in French: Chérubin
cherub in Korean: 그룹 (기독교)
cherub in Italian: Cherubino
cherub in Hebrew: כרוב (תנ"ך)
cherub in Latin: Cherubim
cherub in Lithuanian: Cherubinas
cherub in Dutch: Cherubijn
cherub in Japanese: 智天使
cherub in Norwegian: Kjeruber
cherub in Norwegian Nynorsk: Kjerubar
cherub in Polish: Cheruby
cherub in Portuguese: Querubim
cherub in Romanian: Heruvim
cherub in Russian: Херувимы
cherub in Slovak: Cherub
cherub in Finnish: Kerubi
cherub in Swedish: Kerub
cherub in Ukrainian: Херувим
cherub in Samogitian: Cherubins
cherub in Chinese: 智天使

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

angel, angel of light, angel of love, archangel, babe, baby, baby-doll, bairn, beatified soul, buttercup, canonized mortal, celestial, cherubim, chick, chickabiddy, child, chit, darling, dear, deary, doll, duck, duckling, heavenly being, hon, honey, honey bunch, honey child, innocent, kid, kitten, lamb, lambkin, little bugger, little fellow, little guy, little innocent, little one, little tad, little tot, love, lover, martyr, messenger of God, mite, nipper, offspring, patron saint, peewee, pet, petkins, precious, precious heart, principality, recording angel, saint, saved soul, seraph, seraphim, shaver, snookums, soul in glory, sugar, sweet, sweetheart, sweetie, sweetkins, sweets, tad, tot, wee tot
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