The Strange Roots

Daemon 👹

Daemon, a computer program that runs in the background, was inspired by Maxwell’s Demon, a thought experiment from 1867 in which an imaginary demon works tirelessly in the background to sort gas molecules.

Fernando Corbato, one of the MIT programmers who helped coin the term in 1963, said: "Our use of the word daemon was inspired by the Maxwell's daemon of physics and thermodynamics [...] We fancifully began to use the word daemon to describe background processes which worked tirelessly to perform system chores."

The MIT daemon follows the Greek mythological interpretation of a "demon" which is a figure that is neither good nor evil but rather a neutral intermediary between men and the Gods rather than the manevolent creature you might expect.

Root: The word daemon or demon comes from the Greek daimon meaning 'deity' or 'genuis'.

Source: Take our word for it.