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

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, kicked things off by acquiring the old Whitney Museum building, an imposing granite inverted ziggurat on Madison Avenue, and changing the name to the Met Breuer, a nod to its architect, Marcel Breuer. Lauren Ho, Condé Nast Traveler, "Architectural Reboot: The Return of Brutalism," 20 Dec. 2018 That’s right—there was a time in the not-too-distant past when parents let their scamper over concrete ziggurats and build their own play structures with hammers and nails. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "How not to cheat children: Let them build their own playgrounds," 18 July 2018 Attendees played the game on Xbox One developer kits and HDR TVs in a back room that had a giant ziggurat on the wall. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Shadow of the Tomb Raider hands-on: It’s the end of the world and Lara does not feel fine," 27 Apr. 2018 The first magic trick of the night came in her transformation from Nefertiti chic to campus casual, emerging in cut-offs at the peak of the bleachers-slash-ziggurat. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Beyoncé Masters the Fierceness of Crowds," 16 Apr. 2018 On the top level — up a wood staircase that lends a ziggurat detail to the kitchen wall behind it — is the master suite which has its own bathroom and spacious closet. Julie Lasky, New York Times, "$2.3 Million Homes in New York, Florida and Colorado," 11 Apr. 2018 The opera still stands today, a concrete and glass ziggurat in the most symbolic of Paris’s squares, decorated with sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "Was Pierre Bergé the Most Powerful Man In France?," 8 Sep. 2017 Where to Eat Le NomadLocated in a former carpet shop in the Place des Épices, where the spice merchants cluster, the restaurant sports ziggurat tiling and a playful and unfussy décor with a view of the souk from the terrace bar. Nancy Hass, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Designers of the YSL Museum Are Bringing Minimalism to Marrakech," 16 Oct. 2017 For the next course, you might be asked to place your palm flat on the table so the server can build a little ziggurat on the back of your hand: layers of beef tartare, potato soufflé and oyster, which you’ll be told to lick off. Rico Gagliano, WSJ, "The Best Amsterdam Day Trips: A Quick-Escape Guide," 18 Aug. 2017

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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Time Traveler for ziggurat

The first known use of ziggurat was in 1874

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ziggurat

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ziggurat

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