If you look in early versions of the Bible, the word cherub is often written as cherubin, with the plural forms cherubim or cherubin; it wasn't until the turn of the seventeenth century that we Anglicized it to be cherub and cherubs. The reason for the initial forms lies in Hebrew grammatical structures, which were preserved up to that point. Through Latin cherubin and Ancient Greek kheroubin, the word comes from the Hebrew noun k'ruvim, which described heavenly beings with human and animal characteristics who were the throne bearers of God (that's thought to come from Akkadian karabu, "to bless"). These creatures did not have the baby-like features that we associate with cherubs today; rather, that became a thing because of confusion with the unrelated Aramaic word ke-rabya, "like a child".
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.