Babel

noun

Ba·​bel ˈbā-bəl How to pronounce Babel (audio) ˈba- How to pronounce Babel (audio)
1
: a city in Shinar where the building of a tower is held in Genesis to have been halted by the confusion of tongues
2
or babel
a
: a confusion of sounds or voices
b
: a scene of noise or confusion

Examples of Babel in a Sentence

on opening day the area's newest big-box store was an incredible babel the babel of wheeling and dealing that can be heard at the stock exchange every day

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Hebrew Bābhel, from Akkadian bāb-ilu gate of god

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Babel was in the 14th century

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near Babel

Cite this Entry

“Babel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Babel. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

babel

noun
ba·​bel
ˈbā-bəl,
ˈbab-əl
often capitalized
1
: a confusion of sounds or voices
2
: a scene of noise or confusion
Etymology

from the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:4–9, the building of which was interrupted by a confusion of languages

More from Merriam-Webster on Babel

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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