noun, often attributive
re·​nais·​sance | \ ˈre-nə-ˌsän(t)s How to pronounce renaissance (audio) , -ˌzän(t)s How to pronounce renaissance (audio) , -ˌsäⁿs, -ˌzäⁿs; ˌre-nə-ˈsän(t)s How to pronounce renaissance (audio) , -ˈzän(t)s, -ˈsäⁿs, -ˈzäⁿs, 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for renaissance


belle epoque (or belle époque), golden age


dark age

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Unfortunately, the renaissance of Canadian basketball has spread to the NBA but not to the national team. Gary Washburn,, "Celtics’ Carsen Edwards got here thanks to a team effort," 31 Aug. 2019 San Antonio’s going through a Southern renaissance of sorts, with restaurants like Clementine, Meadow Neighborhood Eatery + Bar and Eastside Kitchenette joining existing players like Cookhouse Restaurant and Mrs. Kitchen. Mike Sutter,, "Review: Fontaine’s Southern Diner & Bar finds 2-star comfort zone near the Pearl," 29 Aug. 2019 As the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death is commemorated this year, the artist’s notebooks are experiencing a renaissance of their own. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "Why Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliance endures, 500 years after his death," 12 June 2019 Guyton grew up on Heidelberg Street with three generations of his family, through the rise, fall and now-renaissance of the city around it: Detroit. CBS News, "How a Detroit artist used what was left behind to transform his dying neighborhood," 21 Aug. 2019 But if Mamou, an agricultural town of 3,200 about a three-hour drive from New Orleans, is not guaranteed a French renaissance, it has been guaranteed a new kind of cultural exchange. Richard Fausset, New York Times, "Louisiana Says ‘Oui’ to French, Amid Explosion in Dual-Language Schools," 21 Aug. 2019 The City of Angels is undoubtedly going through a remarkable renaissance. Dennis Leupold; Fashion Editor: Miguel Enamorado, Harper's BAZAAR, "Crazy Rich Angelenos," 15 Aug. 2019 In today’s Harlem, where some point with pride to a second renaissance, others decry the gentrification that’s displacing residents and demolishing history. Elizabeth Chang, Twin Cities, "Harlem’s 125th Street is the gateway to new corners of Manhattan," 3 Aug. 2019 Manufacturing added 28,000 jobs the first half of the year, the fewest during that period since President Trump took office promising a manufacturing renaissance. Yan Zhang, USA TODAY, "Are tariffs against China bringing factories and jobs back to the U.S.?," 12 July 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about renaissance

Statistics for renaissance

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for renaissance

The first known use of renaissance was in 1837

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for renaissance



English Language Learners Definition of 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 How to pronounce renaissance (audio) \

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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