[ih-liz-uh-bee-thuh n, -beth-uh n]
  1. of or relating to the reign of Elizabeth I, queen of England, or to her times: Elizabethan diplomacy; Elizabethan music.
  2. noting or pertaining to an English Renaissance style of architecture of the reign of Elizabeth I characterized by fantastic sculptured or molded ornament of German or Flemish origin, symmetrical layouts, and an emphasis on domestic architecture.Compare Jacobean(def 2).
  1. an English person who lived during the Elizabethan period, especially a poet or dramatist.

Origin of Elizabethan

First recorded in 1810–20; Elizabeth + -an
Related formshalf-E·liz·a·be·than, adjectivepost-E·liz·a·be·than, adjectivepro-E·liz·a·be·than, adjectivepseu·do-E·liz·a·be·than, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for post-elizabethan


  1. of, characteristic of, or relating to England or its culture in the age of Elizabeth I or to the United Kingdom or its culture in the age of Elizabeth II
  2. of, relating to, or designating a style of architecture used in England during the reign of Elizabeth I, characterized by moulded and sculptured ornament based on German and Flemish models
  1. a person who lived in England during the reign of Elizabeth I
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 post-elizabethan



1807 (Elizabethean); Coleridge (1817) has Elizabethian, and Carlyle (1840) finally attains the modern form. "Belonging to the period of Queen Elizabeth I" (1558-1603). The noun is first attested 1881. See Elizabeth.

John Knox, one of the exiles for religion in Switzerland, publiſhed his "Firſt Blaſt of the Trumpet againſt the Government of Women," in this reign [of Elizabeth]. It was lucky for him that he was out of the queen's reach when he ſounded the trumpet. [The Rev. Mr. James Granger, "A Biographical History of England," 1769]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper