cherub (n.) late 14c. as an order of angels, from L.L. cherub, from Gk. cheroub, from Heb. kerubh (pl. kerubhim) "winged angel," perhaps related to Akkadian karubu "to bless," karibu "one who blesses," an epithet of the bull-colossus. O.E. had cerubin, from the Greek plural.
The cherubim, a common feature of ancient Near Eastern mythology, are not to be confused with the round-cheeked darlings of Renaissance iconography. The root of the terms either means "hybrid" or, by an inversion of consonants, "mount," "steed," and they are winged beasts, probably of awesome aspect, on which the sky god of the old Canaanite myths and of the poetry of Psalms goes riding through the air. [Robert Alter, "The Five Books of Moses," 2004, commentary on Gen. iii:24]

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  • Cherub — Cher ub, n.; pl. {Cherubs}; but the Hebrew plural {Cherubim}is also used. [Heb. ker[=u]b.] 1. A mysterious composite being, the winged footstool and chariot of the Almighty, described in Ezekiel i. and x. [1913 Webster] I knew that they were the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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