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Satan

Alternate name: Devil, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Baal-zebub, Beelzebul, Old nick

Known by many names within the Christian tradition and theology, Satan is considered the archenemy of God and personification of evil. The concept of such a being is present in many religious traditions. Within the books of the Christian New Testament, Satan is regarded as a fallen angel who can possess human beings and use his demons to bring forth illness and natural disasters as well as to incite violence and evil acts. Many modern notions about Satan, however, are rooted in John Milton's Paradise Lost rather than in biblical texts or traditions. In the nineteenth century, both "Nick" and "Old nick" were colloquial terms for Satan.

Hector Ignacio Avalos, "Satan," The Oxford Companion to the Bible, ed. by Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 678-79; James M. Efird, "Satan," The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, ed. by Paul J. Achtemeier (New York: HarperCollins, 1996), 974-75; Lexicon Balatronicum: A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence (London: C. Chappel, 1811).