Definition of Roman in US English:



  • 1Relating to ancient Rome or its empire or people.

    ‘an old Roman settlement’
    • ‘As routes to distant places, they were often rather indirect, and, as though to draw attention to the break with the Roman past, sometimes ran parallel to Roman roads but did not use the latter.’
    • ‘England had also been part of the Roman empire, but here Roman culture had been less firmly implanted than in Gaul or Spain.’
    • ‘Perched on the edge of the fragmenting Roman world, Britain between ad 300 and 700 was at a meeting of currents flowing from several directions.’
    • ‘Part of the visible prestige of a great Roman aristocrat had long been the number of people dependent upon him.’
    • ‘With the fall of the Roman empire, the Roman or civil law which survived was heavily influenced by custom.’
    • ‘So Hegel carefully distinguishes between the underlying principles of the Persian and the Roman empires.’
    1. 1.1 Relating to medieval or modern Rome.
      ‘the Roman and Pisan lines of popes’
  • 2dated

    ‘the Roman Church's instructions to its clergy’
    short for Roman Catholic
  • 3Denoting the alphabet (or any of the letters in it) used for writing Latin, English, and most European languages, developed in ancient Rome.

    • ‘Vernacular and academic orthography are therefore often sharply contrasted, the latter having strict conventions for transliterating Arabic into Roman script.’
    • ‘The obscurity about the major ethnie of Dark Age Scotland was more to do with the fact that the eloquence of their complex sculptured stones was not transliterated into Roman script.’
    • ‘The Roman system of scripts ran from around 30 bc to ad 600 and was to influence the subsequent history of scripts, with certain elements being periodically revived.’
    • ‘Vietnamese language is closer to Chinese than either Korean or Japanese, but it alone has changed its writing system over completely to Roman letters.’
    • ‘‘Why should these people be forced to learn some sort of Roman transliteration in order to access the company page where they know the official Chinese characters for the names’ he writes.’
  • 4(of type) of a plain upright kind used in ordinary print, especially as distinguished from italic.

    • ‘Today's Guardian sports a designer-friendly logo in blue italics and black roman font.’
    • ‘Baskerville gave his name to the roman typefaces based on his designs in current usage.’
    • ‘Yeah, I try and make the chapters about three pages long (in word, times new roman font, size 12).’


  • 1A citizen or soldier of the ancient Roman Republic or Empire.

    • ‘The horticultural art of topiary dates back at least 2,000 years, to when the ancient Romans cut bushes and trees into ornamental shapes.’
    • ‘The ancient Romans, on the other hand, gave us the first known word square, the so-called sator square, found in the ruins of Pompeii and elsewhere.’
    • ‘The Romans used the ideas of the Ancient Greeks to implement their own engineering plans.’
    • ‘‘It was a big challenge to build in a town where the ancient Romans constructed so splendidly,’ says architect David Knafo.’
    • ‘There can be little doubt that the road network built by the Romans throughout their empire was a major achievement.’
    • ‘The ancient Romans would often make sacrifices for their gods, hoping that the gods would in turn grant them their greatest wishes.’
    • ‘It could be said that the Romans invented the concept of empire, at least in the forms in which it was to be understood, and constantly referred back to, by later empire builders.’
    • ‘The ancient Romans ended large meals by chewing sprigs of peppermint, and modern research supports those digestion gladiators.’
    • ‘Julius Caesar was a strong leader for the Romans who changed the course of the history of the Greco - Roman world decisively and irreversibly.’
    • ‘If the Romans thought their empire was universal, the appeal of the Roman Empire continues to be universal today.’
    • ‘The ancient Romans believed that the first lily grew from milk spilt from the breasts of the goddess Juno as she nursed the infant Hercules.’
    • ‘Ancient Romans enjoyed many types of entertainment, but the most popular were bathing, bloody spectacles, and banquets.’
    • ‘The ancient Romans are often seen as bringing civilisation to the western world, but they regarded the slaying of gladiators as a normal form of entertainment.’
    • ‘With Carthage defeated, the Romans became the most powerful Mediterranean state.’
    • ‘By placing himself above everyone else, he demolished the democracy in the Roman Empire and the equality of all Romans.’
    • ‘As people in the Roman Empire were described as Romans, they distinguished individuals by their class or occupation.’
    1. 1.1 A citizen of modern Rome.
      • ‘Who knows what the Romans would make of this open-plan Italian café bar in the heart of bustling Lan Kawi Fong but we love it for its drink, food, friendly staff and street-front locale.’
  • 2dated A Roman Catholic.

  • 3Roman type.

    • ‘They use contrastive typefaces for distinct purposes, such as bold-face type for headwords, roman for definitions, italics for abbreviated codes and specimen words and phrases, and small capitals for cross-references.’


Middle English: from Old French Romain, from Latin Romanus, from Roma ‘Rome’.