noun, often attributive
re·​nais·​sance | \ ˌre-nə-ˈsän(t)s, -ˈzän(t)s, -ˈsäⁿs, -ˈzäⁿs; ˈre-nə-ˌsän(t)s, -ˌzän(t)s, -ˌsäⁿs, -ˌzäⁿs, chiefly British ri-ˈnā-sᵊn(t)s \

Definition of renaissance

1 capitalized

a : the transitional movement in Europe between medieval and modern times beginning in the 14th century in Italy, lasting into the 17th century, and marked by a humanistic revival of classical influence expressed in a flowering of the arts and literature and by the beginnings of modern science
b : the period of the Renaissance
c : the neoclassical style of architecture prevailing during the Renaissance
2 often capitalized : a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity

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Synonyms & Antonyms for renaissance


belle epoque (or belle époque), golden age


dark age

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Examples of renaissance in a Sentence

a book on the Renaissance the 19th-century literary renaissance that prompted people to refer to Boston as the Athens of America

Recent Examples on the Web

Ethan Hawke continues an unexpected mid-career renaissance with this portrait of a small-town pastor, keeper of a historic church and a shrinking flock, whose inner torments are slowly bringing him to his knees. Ty Burr,, "What to watch at the IFFBoston," 19 Apr. 2018 By then, in mid-2016, the MRJ had already made its maiden test flight, an event celebrated in Japan as a landmark in the nation’s plane-building renaissance. Alastair Gale, WSJ, "The Pressure Is On for Japan’s First Jetliner," 10 July 2018 Netflix is ushering in a teen rom-com renaissance, and one upcoming movie should give you all the John Hughes vibes., "Meet All The Boys Of To All The Boys I've Loved Before," 27 June 2018 The duo then figured large in the Disney renaissance, writing words, music, and score for Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. John Timpane,, "'Aladdin' composer Alan Menken saw star potential really early in Lin-Manuel Miranda, and in Ardmore's Benj Pasek, too," 14 June 2018 The concert venue would be another big milestone in Downtown's renaissance. Jason Williams,, "PX column: Bengals' threat reminds us they're not about being good corporate citizens," 6 June 2018 O’Connor, meanwhile, finds himself in a perennial renaissance. Lawrence Toppman, charlotteobserver, "‘Whoops and hollers’ at the Charlotte Symphony? Yes. And a ‘Hoedown.’," 25 Jan. 2018 Contrast Malaysia's political renaissance with Cambodia's descent into autocracy under Hun Sen. Matthew Pennington, Fox News, "Malaysia, Cambodia offer 2 Asian narratives of change at UN," 27 Sep. 2018 Since 2012, considered the peak year of the urban renaissance, the growth of urban cores has fallen by half and exurban county growth has quadrupled. The Economist, "High prices in America’s cities are reviving the suburbs," 19 Apr. 2018

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

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First Known Use of renaissance

1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for renaissance

French, from Middle French, rebirth, from Old French renaistre to be born again, from Latin renasci, from re- + nasci to be born — more at nation

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for renaissance

The first known use of renaissance was in 1837

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More Definitions for renaissance



English Language Learners Definition of renaissance

the Renaissance : the period of European history between the 14th and 17th centuries when there was a new interest in science and in ancient art and literature especially in Italy

: a situation or period of time when there is a new interest in something that has not been popular in a long time

: a period of new growth or activity


re·​nais·​sance | \ ˌre-nə-ˈsäns \

Kids Definition of renaissance

1 capitalized : the period of European history between the 14th and 17th centuries marked by a fresh interest in ancient art and literature and by the beginnings of modern science
2 : the act of changing in a positive way : a period during which things are improving The city's downtown is experiencing a renaissance.

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Comments on renaissance

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


a complex dispute or argument

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