acropolis

noun
acrop·o·lis | \ə-ˈkrä-pə-ləs \

Definition of acropolis 

: the upper fortified part of an ancient Greek city (such as Athens) also : a usually fortified height of a city or district elsewhere (as in Central America)

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

The Greek root acro- means "high;" thus, an acropolis is basically a "high city". Ancient cities often grew up around a high point, in order that they could easily be defended. The Greeks and Romans usually included in their acropolises temples to the city's most important gods; so, for example, Athens built a great temple on its Acropolis to its protector goddess, Athena, from which the city took its name. Many later European cities cluster around a walled castle on a height, into which the population of the city and the surrounding area could retreat in case of attack, and even South American cities often contain a similar walled area on high ground.

Examples of acropolis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Moses sold the Met, the New York Philharmonic and other institutions on the idea of a cultural acropolis on Manhattan's west side to be known as Lincoln Center. Kenneth Turan, latimes.com, "The origin story of a New York landmark is well told in 'The Opera House'," 15 Mar. 2018 There was the sheer scope of the artistic megaproject that was the Met and Lincoln Center, muscled through by mid-20th-century power brokers, including Robert Moses and John D. Rockefeller III, who wanted an American cultural acropolis. Michael Cooper, New York Times, "A Starburst Is Born: Watch the Building of the Metropolitan Opera," 15 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acropolis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of acropolis

1570, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for acropolis

borrowed from Greek akrópolis, from akro- acro- + pólis "city, body of citizens" — more at police entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about acropolis

Statistics for acropolis

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for acropolis

The first known use of acropolis was in 1570

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on acropolis

See words that rhyme with acropolis

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about acropolis

Comments on acropolis

What made you want to look up acropolis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!