Definition of Minoan in English:



  • Relating to or denoting a Bronze Age civilization centered on Crete (c.3000–1050 BC), its people, or its language.

    • ‘I found another theory that held that the plundering and subsequent destruction of the palaces, such as Knossos, was the cause for the retreat of Minoan culture.’
    • ‘Olive oil, too, has ancient origins; Egyptian and Greek texts mention olive oil and its uses, and the Palace of Knossos from Minoan times contained a chamber called the Room of the Olive Press.’
    • ‘The island's Minoan population, they noted, was likely wiped out by a massive volcanic eruption circa 1450 B.C., a cataclysm that may have inspired Plato's tales of Atlantis being wiped out by floods.’
    • ‘The Minoan civilization on the island of Crete was named after the legendary King Minos.’
    • ‘It would be sacrilege not to visit the famous Minoan palace at Knossos, which is within an easy drive of Fodele.’
    • ‘Cypriots were influenced by traders from the Minoan civilization, who developed a script for Cypriot commerce.’
    • ‘The large cresting form is structured in vertically rising bands that resemble segments of stained glass, topped by largo horizontal squiggles reminiscent of Minoan ornamentation.’
    • ‘Borgna grapples with issues of social structure and organization in detail in her comparative study of Minoan and Mycenaean traditions of feasting.’
    • ‘The discovery early in the twentieth century of the Minoan civilization at Knossos in Crete revealed the sudden demise of an early Greek settlement of a highly civilized people.’
    • ‘In the same year he proposed the idea that the collapse of Minoan civilization in the Aegean was caused by the eruption of Thera in c. 1500 bc.’
    • ‘Divided into two periods by a devastating earthquake that occurred c. 1700 BC, the Minoan civilization was noted particularly for its Linear A script and distinctive palatial art and architecture.’
    • ‘While Mycenaean frescoes were derived from representations and conventions of Minoan and Cycladic painting, the Mycenaeans adapted these for their own purposes.’
    • ‘Nearby on the volcanic island of Thera, or Santorini, archaeologists dug up Minoan buildings, artifacts and a whole city, Akrotiri, buried under volcanic ash like Pompeii.’
    • ‘Greek mythology as we have it developed during the Greek Dark Ages, between the fall of the Minoan civilisation and the rise of classical Hellenism.’
    • ‘After mooching around the Minoan ruins at Knossos, we hitchhiked to the wildly beautiful lands in the west of the island.’
    • ‘This picture of Minoan and Cycladic feasts does not permit us to determine their purpose, whether for creating alliances and fostering cooperation, for economic gain, or for sumptuary display.’
    • ‘Researchers partially unearthed the ruins of a Minoan city and 30,000 persons engulfed by volcanic ash about 1500 B.C.’
    • ‘All of these ideas were dismissed, with emphasis on removing the Minoan civilization on Theta as the likely origin of the Atlantis myth.’
    • ‘In the Minoan world the same ideological strategy, aimed at strengthening solidarity and reducing members to anonymous, faceless participants, underlined the huge distance of the community from the center of power.’
    • ‘By c. 1450 bc episodes of destruction in the Minoan palaces and the rise to prominence of the Mycenaeans in the Aegean seem to have resulted in Crete being drawn into the Mycenaean sphere of influence.’


  • 1An inhabitant of Minoan Crete or member of the Minoan people.

    • ‘His recommendations were the Picts or the Minoans, because hardly anything was known about them and you could spend a happy lifetime of speculation.’
    • ‘Now bull riding's been around since the Minoans were leaping over animals 3,000 years ago, but today's enthusiasts want to jump on, not jump over.’
    • ‘An even older one, the Labyrinth game found on the island of Crete, dated back to the Minoans.’
    • ‘With an estimated population of 250,000 people (40,000 in Knossos alone), the Minoans traded with the people of the Fertile Crescent.’
    • ‘When Thera erupted, the Minoans would have been clobbered by tsunamis, overwater pyroclastic flows, and fires from oil lamps knocked over by the eruption's shockwave.’
    • ‘It wasn't on the programme at the Ancient Greek Olympics, though the Minoans may have used poles to leap over the bulls during bull-dancing events.’
    • ‘The emphasis is on fully experiencing the pleasures of the Cretan environment, on connecting physically with the places sacred to the ancient Minoans and on learning more about their culture.’
    • ‘The Minoans of Crete have long been a popular choice, though there are plenty of other suggestions, one of which, Troy, has been given fresh support by Zangger.’
    • ‘It greatly influenced the later Mycenacans, whose presence in Crete is attested from the 16th century BC and who succeeded the Minoans in control of the Aegean c. 1400 BC.’
    • ‘If they're stressed, the actors show no sign of it as they set to work, sorting the children out into Athenians, heroes and Minoans.’
    • ‘The tsunami, ash blanket and destruction of Thira greatly weakened the dominant Minoans.’
    • ‘Given the links between Crete and Egypt in this period, the Minoans might be expected both to have learned viticulture from their neighbours and to have exported to supply the demand there and elsewhere in the Near East.’
    • ‘The Hittites, the Minoans, and other early civilizations left drawings of swimming and diving skills.’
    • ‘The colour purple goes back to the Phoenicians, the Minoans and of course, the Romans who adopted purple as the royal colour.’
    • ‘The Minoans produced gems of a different style, with designs of warriors, gods, and naturalistic animals.’
    • ‘In other ways they differed from the Minoans in being more warlike, having defended settlements, and a strong emphasis on weapons as grave goods.’
    • ‘The Minoans were not Greek and spoke the Cypriot language and so the established hypothesis was that there was some relation between Linear A and B and the Cypriot script.’
    • ‘An overriding theme throughout the book is the struggle of the Greeks to interact peaceably with the Persians, Romans, and Minoans and their capacity to adapt through the centuries.’
    • ‘She knew that, in the wake of the invading army, would be innocent, dead Minoans - her countrymen.’
    • ‘You can still trip along mule paths, too, the very ones tramped by the ancient Minoans, into gorges bursting with wild flowers.’
  • 2The language or scripts associated with the Minoans.

    • ‘Maman taught her not only the Latin and French that were the basis of her education, but Sanskrit and ancient Iberian, Aramaic and Minoan - whatever they came across in their readings.’
    • ‘This indicated that the language represented by Linear B was an ancient form of Greek, but he wasn't prepared to accept this, being convinced that Linear B was used to write Minoan.’


Named after the legendary Cretan king Minos, to whom a palace excavated at Knossos was attributed.