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[bab-uh l; Russian bah-byil] /ˈbæb əl; Russian ˈbɑ byɪl/
Isaak Emmanuilovich
[ahy-zuh k;; Russian ee-sahk yi-muh-noo-yee-luh-vyich] /ˈaɪ zək;; Russian iˈsɑk yɪ mə nuˈyi lə vyɪtʃ/ (Show IPA),
1894–1941, Russian author.


[bey-buh l, bab-uh l] /ˈbeɪ bəl, ˈbæb əl/
an ancient city in the land of Shinar in which the building of a tower (Tower of Babel) intended to reach heaven was begun and the confusion of the language of the people took place. Gen. 11:4–9.
(usually lowercase) a confused mixture of sounds or voices.
(usually lowercase) a scene of noise and confusion.
Origin of Babel2
From the Hebrew word Bābhel Babylon
Related forms
[bey-bel-ik, ba-] /beɪˈbɛl ɪk, bæ-/ (Show IPA),
3. tumult, turmoil, uproar, bedlam, clamor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Babel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This stone was thrown at the sainted Stephen, and the other two are from the Tower of Babel.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Between its Babel towers narrow Nassau Street was like a canyon.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • "By Babel streams I have sat and wept" almost ever since I wrote you last.

  • Marcia entered her mother's sitting-room in the midst of what seemed a Babel of voices.

    The Coryston Family Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • It could scarcely be heard above the Babel of tongues which was sounding.

    The First Violin Jessie Fothergill
British Dictionary definitions for Babel


(Old Testament)
  1. Also called Tower of Babel. a tower presumptuously intended to reach from earth to heaven, the building of which was frustrated when Jehovah confused the language of the builders (Genesis 11:1–9)
  2. the city, probably Babylon, in which this tower was supposedly built
(often not capital)
  1. a confusion of noises or voices
  2. a scene of noise and confusion
Word Origin
from Hebrew Bābhél, from Akkadian Bāb-ilu, literally: gate of God


/Russian ˈbabɪl/
Issak Emmanuilovich (iˈsak imənuˈiləvitʃ) 1894–1941, Russian short-story writer, whose works include Stories from Odessa(1924) and Red Cavalry (1926)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Babel

capital of Babylon, late 14c., from Hebrew Babhel (Gen. xi), from Akkadian bab-ilu "Gate of God" (from bab "gate" + ilu "god"). The name is a translation of Sumerian Ka-dingir. Meaning "confused medley of sounds" (1520s) is from the biblical story of the Tower of Babel.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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