Definition of Jacobean in English:



  • 1Relating to the reign of James I of England.

    ‘a Jacobean mansion’
    • ‘We have no Scottish Jacobean tragedies, no Scottish Restoration comedies.’
    • ‘Cultural life at the Jacobean court was dominated by James's queen Anne of Denmark, and by his elder son Henry, Prince of Wales.’
    • ‘Shakespeare studies call for a thorough knowledge of a wide spectrum of pre-Shakespearean, Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, the Elizabethan stage and dramaturgy.’
    • ‘The weather must assuredly have been kinder in Elizabethan and Jacobean times; one of Shakespeare's sonnets puts May in summer, but a May evening at the great Sam Wanamaker's reconstructed Globe is nowadays a wintry affair.’
    • ‘Machiavelli himself, author of groundbreaking comedies such as the Mandragola, became a proverbial figure of evil on the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage.’
    • ‘Antony Sher is performing in two of the five plays in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Jacobean season: Philip Massinger's The Roman Actor and John Marston's The Malcontent at the Swan Theatre, Stratford upon-Avon.’
    • ‘There is a distinct similarity between Jacobean motifs and the illuminated work produced during the same era, with its funky strange animals, flowers, bugs, bees, gargoyles, etc.’
    • ‘The first collect for this service, couched in rich Jacobean language, makes interesting reading.’
    • ‘Yet as far as I am aware, my interpretation of Thomas Middleton's The Revenger's Tragedy, completed last year, marks the first instance of a Jacobean tragedy being made into a feature film.’
    • ‘Undoubtedly, even though Elizabethan and Jacobean tragedy showed the world as an awful chaos to contemporary playgoers, the building which sheltered actors and audience contained this chaos in a monumental architecture.’
    • ‘William Byrd was a Catholic, but he lived at the height of the Elizabethan and Jacobean persecutions.’
    • ‘It is a critical commonplace to note sharp cultural differences between Elizabethan and Jacobean England.’
    • ‘Tis Pity She's A Whore is a play of forbidden love deemed provocative in Jacobean times and remains vividly so today.’
    • ‘London's economic expansion and the aggregation of so many and varied social elements stimulated the cultural development expressed in Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre.’
    • ‘The book combines historical analysis of documents with literary reading of censored texts and exposes the kinds of tensions that really mattered in Jacobean culture.’
    • ‘Another interesting thing about the Jacobean stage is that, very often, there were musicians playing right the way through productions.’
    • ‘Elevated Jacobean English By and large, biblical English is elevated Jacobean English, comparable to the style of Shakespeare and Thomas Browne.’
    • ‘Originally a carnivalesque folk celebration with the traditional themes of inversion and transgression, the courtly form became highly formalized in the Jacobean collaborations of Inigo Jones and Ben Jonson.’
    • ‘Britain's leading composer during the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, Byrd's large, varied output included English anthems and consort songs, Latin motets and masses, and keyboard and instrumental consort music.’
    • ‘Another grand house for sale in East Lothian is Bowerhouse near Spott, a two-storey Grade A listed Jacobean mansion, built by David Bryce, one of Scotland's finest architects around 1835.’
    1. 1.1 Denoting the architectural style prevalent during the reign of James I, consisting of a blend of Gothic and classical features.
      • ‘Two mansions in Jacobean style also survive from that time, St Nicholas Abbey and Drax Hall.’
      • ‘Not just another nondescript building down Whitehall, but an ornate Jacobean dining hall with huge painted ceiling.’
      • ‘In front of him, in 14 crates in the warehouse, was one of the wonders of Wales: the carved dolphins and cornices and gods of the Jacobean panelled dining room from the great house at Gwydir.’
      • ‘The agents say that internally the features are equally eye catching, with some stylish Jacobean decorative plaster ceilings, Louis XV marble fireplaces and wooden floors.’
      • ‘The ornate state room on the ground floor, complete with Jacobean oak panelling and moulded ceiling, was rescued when the building was demolished three centuries later and can now be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum.’
      • ‘One of the finest examples of Jacobean architecture in Ireland, it dates from 1625, and looks like a castle ought to look, complete with crenellations and an adjacent ruined abbey, covered in wild roses.’
    2. 1.2 (of furniture) in the style prevalent during the reign of James I, characterized by the use of dark oak.
      • ‘Other Cottier furniture in the Jacobean or northern Renaissance style is made of ebonized or painted mahogany.’
      • ‘Church dates from 1436 and contains attractive Jacobean pews and pulpit.’
      • ‘A large, open-arm, upholstered armchair is in the corner, and a wooden armchair with a pierced back splat in the Jacobean / colonial revival mode is in front of the chimney-piece.’


  • A person who lived in the Jacobean period.

    • ‘Cooley argues that Herbert was a Jacobean to the core when it came to his vision of the church, but conscious of the reality that in the Caroline world this could be an obstacle to advancement.’
    • ‘He compares the preoccupation with the extremes of the Jacobeans to the extremes of recent playwrights.’
    • ‘The approach of Elizabethans and Jacobeans to non-Europeans was normally commercial and pragmatic.’
    • ‘For Dryden, the contrast between the First and Second Temples is symbolic of the relationship between contemporary Caroline poetry and that of the great Jacobeans.’


Mid 19th century (in use earlier with reference to St James): from modern Latin Jacobaeus (from ecclesiastical Latin Jacobus ‘James’, from Greek Iakōbos ‘Jacob’) + -an.