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[zig-oo-rat] /ˈzɪg ʊˌræt/
(among the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians) a temple of Sumerian origin in the form of a pyramidal tower, consisting of a number of stories and having about the outside a broad ascent winding round the structure, presenting the appearance of a series of terraces.
Also, zikkurat, zikurat
[zik-oo-rat] /ˈzɪk ʊˌræt/ (Show IPA)
Origin of ziggurat
First recorded in 1875-80, ziggurat is from the Akkadian word ziqquratu Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ziggurat
Historical Examples
  • This is the first known mention of the "horns" of a ziggurat, and the exact meaning of the word is doubtful.

  • Near this arose the ziggurat or tower, and many smaller buildings, not unlike private dwellings.

  • It rather resembles a group of exaggerated sandhills, rising at one point into a blunt pyramid, the ziggurat.

    The Cradle of Mankind W.A. Wigram
  • The ziggurat at Borsippa had a base of earthwork 272 feet on each side, and was 26 feet high.

  • Bit-Yakin and the high-priest arrived at the foot of the ziggurat side by side, with the foremost of the company ten feet behind.

    Istar of Babylon Margaret Horton Potter
  • Every important city had its temple, and attached to its temple its ziggurat, which was a temple-observatory.

    Human Origins Samuel Laing
  • As Istar left her dwelling and walked slowly towards the foot of the ziggurat, she saw that the whole city lay in a flood of gold.

    Istar of Babylon Margaret Horton Potter
  • The inscribed bricks proved that this chamber, like the ziggurat itself was built by Ur-Engur.

    Mesopotamian Archaeology Percy S. P. Handcock
  • The ziggurat at Muḳeyyer60 (Ur) excavated by Taylor similarly appears to have been three-storied, or possibly only two-storied.

    Mesopotamian Archaeology Percy S. P. Handcock
  • The ziggurat was surrounded by an enclosure, some 400 yards square, the ingress and egress to which was by means of bronze gates.

    Mesopotamian Archaeology Percy S. P. Handcock
British Dictionary definitions for ziggurat


a type of rectangular temple tower or tiered mound erected by the Sumerians, Akkadians, and Babylonians in Mesopotamia. The tower of Babel is thought to be one of these
Word Origin
C19: from Assyrian ziqqurati summit, height
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 ziggurat

1858, from Assyrian ziqquratu "height, pinnacle," from zaqaru "to be high."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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