ziggurat

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noun zig·gu·rat \ˈzi-gə-ˌrat\

Definition of ziggurat

  1. :  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

ziggurat was our Word of the Day on 12/05/2016. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of ziggurat from the Web

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.

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.

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Origin and Etymology of ziggurat

Akkadian ziqqurratu


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