Word of the Day : December 5, 2016


noun ZIG-uh-rat


: 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

Did You Know?

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.


"The building itself is certainly distinctive: The bronze-meshed ziggurat moves upwards toward the sky and into the light." — Lisa Benton-Short, GWToday (gwtoday.gwu.edu, George Washington University), 10 Oct. 2016

"The opulence remains in Barbara de Limburg's expansive sets, but the dramatic point is the contrast of the family's poverty with the consumerist rapacity suggested by the Witch's lair—not the usual gumdrop-bedecked gingerbread house but a towering ziggurat of brightly packaged junk food…." — Gavin Borchart, The Seattle Weekly, 19 Oct. 2016

Test Your Vocabulary

Unscramble the letters to create the name for a temple tower found in eastern Asia: ADOAGP.



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