ziggurat

noun
zig·​gu·​rat | \ ˈzi-gə-ˌrat How to pronounce ziggurat (audio) \

Definition of ziggurat

: an ancient Mesopotamian temple tower consisting of a lofty pyramidal structure built in successive stages with outside staircases and a shrine at the top also : a structure or object of similar form

Illustration of ziggurat

Illustration of ziggurat

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François Lenormant and Ziggurat

French professor of archaeology François Lenormant spent a great deal of time poring over ancient Assyrian texts. In those cuneiform inscriptions, he recognized a new language, now known as Akkadian, which proved valuable to the understanding of ancient Mesopotamian civilization. Through his studies, he became familiar with the Akkadian word for the towering Mesopotamian temples: ziqqurratu. In 1877 he came out with Chaldean Magic, a scholarly exposition on the mythology of the Chaldeans, an ancient people who lived in what is now Iraq. In his work, which was immediately translated into English, he introduced the word ziggurat to the modern world in his description of the ziggurat of the Iraqi palace of Khorsabad.

Examples of ziggurat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But the renovation around 2450 B.C. covered this communal space with earthen terraces, transforming the dome into a six-story ziggurat, or stepped pyramid. Bridget Alex, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 June 2021 In the children scaling the ziggurat, indulging concrete’s imaginative possibilities. Kelsey Ables, Washington Post, 25 Mar. 2021 The meeting was taking place in the shadow of Ur’s magnificent ziggurat, the 6,000-year-old archaeological complex near Nasiriyah in southern Iraq. Chron, 6 Mar. 2021 The meeting was held in the shadow of Ur’s magnificent ziggurat, the 6,000-year-old archaeological complex near the modern city of Nasiriyah. Time, 6 Mar. 2021 The meeting was held in the shadow of Ur’s magnificent ziggurat, the 6,000-year-old archaeological complex near the modern city of Nasiriyah. Fox News, 6 Mar. 2021 On the horizon, military members paced the top of a 4,000-year-old mud-brick Mesopotamian ziggurat, the lone remnant of the ancient civilization. Louisa Loveluck, BostonGlobe.com, 6 Mar. 2021 Ur, with its ancient ziggurat, is the traditional birthplace of Abraham, prophet common to Christians, Muslims and Jews. Anmar Khalil, USA TODAY, 6 Mar. 2021 The location of the ziggurat said to have been the Tower of Babel described in the Old Testament has also never been established. New York Times, 6 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ziggurat.' 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 ziggurat

1874, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ziggurat

Akkadian ziqqurratu

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The first known use of ziggurat was in 1874

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Dictionary Entries Near ziggurat

Zigadenus

ziggurat

Zigong

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Last Updated

29 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ziggurat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ziggurat. Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ziggurat

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ziggurat

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