• synonyms


[bab-uh l; Russian bah-byil]
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  1. I·saak Em·ma·nu·i·lo·vich [ahy-zuh k; Russian ee-sahk yi-muh-noo-yee-luh-vyich] /ˈaɪ zək; Russian iˈsɑk yɪ mə nuˈyi lə vyɪtʃ/, 1894–1941, Russian author.
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[bey-buhl, bab-uhl]
  1. 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.
  2. (usually lowercase) a confused mixture of sounds or voices.
  3. (usually lowercase) a scene of noise and confusion.
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Origin of Babel

From the Hebrew word Bābhel Babylon
Related formsBa·bel·ic [bey-bel-ik, ba-] /beɪˈbɛl ɪk, bæ-/, adjective

Synonyms for Babel

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for babel

turmoil, din, discord, tumult, bedlam, clang, hubbub, hullabaloo, pandemonium, racket, tower, jargon

Examples from the Web for babel

Contemporary Examples of babel

Historical Examples of babel

  • 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.

  • "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


  1. Old Testament
    1. Also called: Tower of Babela 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
  2. (often not capital)
    1. a confusion of noises or voices
    2. a scene of noise and confusion
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Word Origin for Babel

from Hebrew Bābhél, from Akkadian Bāb-ilu, literally: gate of God


  1. Issak Emmanuilovich (iˈsak imənuˈiləvitʃ) 1894–1941, Russian short-story writer, whose works include Stories from Odessa (1924) and Red Cavalry (1926)
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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 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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper