1

Byzantine

adjective Byz·an·tine \ ˈbi-zᵊn-ˌtēn , ˈbī- , -ˌtīn ; bə-ˈzan-ˌ , bī-ˈ \

Definition of Byzantine

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of the ancient city of Byzantium
  • Byzantine art
2 architecture : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a style of architecture developed in the Byzantine Empire especially in the fifth and sixth centuries featuring the dome carried on pendentives over a square and incrustation with marble veneering and with colored mosaics on grounds of gold
3 Christianity : of or relating to the churches using a traditional Greek rite and subject to Eastern (see eastern 2) canon law
4 often not capitalized
a : of, relating to, or characterized by a devious and usually surreptitious manner of operation
  • a Byzantine power struggle
b : intricately involved : labyrinthine
  • rules of Byzantine complexity

Byzantine was our Word of the Day on 11/08/2014. Hear the podcast!

byzantine, A Word For History Buffs

Today, the city that lies on the Bosporus Strait in Turkey is named Istanbul, but it was once known as Constantinople (a name given to it when it became capital of the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire), and in ancient times, it was called Byzantium. Its history is exotic-filled with mystics, wars, and political infighting-and the word Byzantine (from Late Latin Byzantinus, for "native of Byzantium") became synonymous with anything characteristic of the city or empire, from architecture to intrigue. The figurative sense of labyrinthine deviousness first appeared in the late 1930s. It was popularized by its frequent use in reference to the Soviet Union, whose secrecy and despotism were equated by Westerners with what went on in the old Byzantine Empire.

First Known Use of byzantine

1651

Other Archaeology Terms


2

Byzantine

noun

Definition of Byzantine

: a native or inhabitant of Byzantium

First Known Use of byzantine

1651



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