Definition of ziggurat in English:



  • (in ancient Mesopotamia) a rectangular stepped tower, sometimes surmounted by a temple. Ziggurats are first attested in the late 3rd millennium bc and probably inspired the biblical story of the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1–9).

    • ‘Kiln-fired bricks were invented by the Mesopotamians to create the complex towering ziggurats of the Sumerian and Babylonian empires.’
    • ‘Stepped pyramids known as ziggurats survive from the 3rd millennium BC in Mesopotamia.’
    • ‘Cartons of bottled water for rescue workers rose in charitable ziggurats outside police stations and schools.’
    • ‘Shellfire damaged the brickwork of the ziggurat at Ur, which was constructed in 2100 B.C.’
    • ‘In its heyday, the city was enclosed by a wall some 8km in circumference, enclosing at one corner a citadel that contained a ziggurat, temples, and palaces.’
    • ‘This piece evokes ancient architecture, in particular the ziggurat of the Assyrians.’
    • ‘Opposite the ziggurat of technology was a single unmade cot.’
    • ‘He guided Tennyson and Clara to a stepped display that looked rather like Tennysons' model of a ziggurat from History class.’
    • ‘The Tower of Babel, the great ziggurat beside Babylon's temple of Marduk, dates to this era.’
    • ‘Dispensing with his ‘prairie style’, he peppered the scheme with domes, spires and ziggurats.’
    • ‘The nearby floating stairs are cast concrete bolstered by steel ziggurats tied into floor joists.’
    • ‘West Sacramento has a giant ziggurat on the river.’
    • ‘I'm doing an ambient-metal installation in a Greek art gallery and writing about ziggurats.’
    • ‘The ziggurat occupies the center, surrounded by a city wall.’
    • ‘Tall yellow candles towered like ziggurats over a city of dishes stacked with onion pies, potato dumplings, mettwurst and weisswurst.’
    • ‘The Mesopotamians built massive temples or ziggurats which housed the priestly class, the human representatives of the gods.’
    • ‘I've seen the wax ziggurats, the elevated boats and spare architecture.’
    • ‘This view, modelled upon ancient ziggurats, is probably very similar to how it actually appeared.’
    • ‘Just beyond the bridge is a little park, too rocky to develop, that rises in the middle to a rounded granite ziggurat.’
    • ‘In the pre-dynastic period, it was Mesopotamia and its ziggurats that provided the model for the Egyptians.’


From Akkadian ziqqurratu.