Definition of Jacobean in US English:



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

    ‘a Jacobean mansion’
    • ‘We have no Scottish Jacobean tragedies, no Scottish Restoration comedies.’
    • ‘Tis Pity She's A Whore is a play of forbidden love deemed provocative in Jacobean times and remains vividly so today.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is a critical commonplace to note sharp cultural differences between Elizabethan and Jacobean England.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘William Byrd was a Catholic, but he lived at the height of the Elizabethan and Jacobean persecutions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Elevated Jacobean English By and large, biblical English is elevated Jacobean English, comparable to the style of Shakespeare and Thomas Browne.’
    • ‘Another interesting thing about the Jacobean stage is that, very often, there were musicians playing right the way through productions.’
    • ‘London's economic expansion and the aggregation of so many and varied social elements stimulated the cultural development expressed in Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre.’
    • ‘Machiavelli himself, author of groundbreaking comedies such as the Mandragola, became a proverbial figure of evil on the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Cultural life at the Jacobean court was dominated by James's queen Anne of Denmark, and by his elder son Henry, Prince of Wales.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The first collect for this service, couched in rich Jacobean language, makes interesting reading.’
    • ‘Shakespeare studies call for a thorough knowledge of a wide spectrum of pre-Shakespearean, Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, the Elizabethan stage and dramaturgy.’
    1. 1.1 (of furniture) in the style prevalent during the reign of James I, especially being the color of dark oak.
      • ‘Other Cottier furniture in the Jacobean or northern Renaissance style is made of ebonized or painted mahogany.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Church dates from 1436 and contains attractive Jacobean pews and pulpit.’


  • A person who lived during the Jacobean period.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The approach of Elizabethans and Jacobeans to non-Europeans was normally commercial and pragmatic.’
    • ‘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.’


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.