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  1. of or relating to ions.
  2. pertaining to or occurring in the form of ions.

Origin of ionic

First recorded in 1885–90; ion + -ic


  1. Architecture. noting or pertaining to one of the five classical orders that in ancient Greece consisted of a fluted column with a molded base and a capital composed of four volutes, usually parallel to the architrave with a pulvinus connecting a pair on each side of the column, and an entablature typically consisting of an architrave of three fascias, a richly ornamented frieze, and a cornice corbeled out on egg-and-dart and dentil moldings, with the frieze sometimes omitted. Roman and Renaissance examples are often more elaborate, and usually set the volutes of the capitals at 45° to the architrave.Compare composite(def 3), Corinthian(def 2), Doric(def 3), Tuscan(def 2).
  2. Prosody. noting or employing a foot consisting either of two long followed by two short syllables (greater Ionic), or of two short followed by two long syllables (lesser Ionic).
  3. noting or pertaining to that variety of the eastern branch of the early Greek alphabet that was used for the writing of the Ionic dialect and that became the variety used for all dialects of Greek from the 4th century b.c. to the present.
  4. of or relating to Ionia or the Ionians.
  1. Prosody. an Ionic foot, verse, or meter.
  2. the dialect of ancient Greek spoken in Euboea, the Cyclades, and on the mainland of Asia Minor at Miletus and elsewhere.
  3. Trademark. a style of printing type.

Origin of Ionic

1555–65; < Latin Iōnicus < Greek Iōnikós of Ionia; see -ic
Related formsnon-I·on·ic, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ionic


  1. of, relating to, or occurring in the form of ions


  1. of, denoting, or relating to one of the five classical orders of architecture, characterized by fluted columns and capitals with scroll-like ornamentsSee also Doric, composite (def. 4), Tuscan, Corinthian
  2. of or relating to Ionia, its inhabitants, or their dialect of Ancient Greek
  3. prosody of, relating to, designating, or employing Ionics in verse
  1. one of four chief dialects of Ancient Greek; the dialect spoken in IoniaCompare Aeolic, Arcadic, Doric See also Attic (def. 3)
  2. (in classical prosody) a type of metrical foot having either two long followed by two short syllables (greater Ionic), or two short followed by two long syllables (lesser Ionic)
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

Word Origin and History for ionic



"pertaining to Ionia," 1570s of music; 1580s of architecture, from Latin Ionicus, from Greek Ionikos (see Ionian).


"pertaining to ions," 1890, from ion + -ic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ionic in Medicine


  1. Of, containing, or involving an ion or ions.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

ionic in Culture



One of the three main styles of Greek architecture (the others are Corinthian and Doric). The Ionic column is slender and finely fluted; its capital is in the shape of a scroll.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.