[ ren-uh-sahns, -zahns, -sahns, ren-uh-sahns, -zahns, -sahns; especially British ri-ney-suhns ]
See synonyms for Renaissance on
  1. the Ren·ais·sance,

    • the great revival of classical art, literature, and learning in Europe from the 14th century to the 17th century, marking the transition from the medieval to the modern world.

    • the period during which this revival occurred.

  2. the forms and treatments in art, architecture, literature, etc., used in Europe from the 14th century to the 17th century and involving a revival of classical forms: This building is considered the most beautiful example of Renaissance north of the Alps.

  1. Sometimes ren·ais·sance . any notable revival in the world of art and learning: The period from 1917 to 1923, which in China saw the New Culture Movement at its height, has been called by some the Chinese Renaissance.

  2. ren·ais·sance, a renewal of life, vigor, interest, etc.; rebirth; revival: “British film is undergoing its own renaissance right now,” said the festival’s director.

  1. relating to the period, arts, literature, and ways of thinking of the European Renaissance from the 14th to the 17th century: Renaissance attitudes helped bring about a scientific revolution.

  2. relating to furnishings or decorations in or imitating the style of the Renaissance, in which motifs of classical derivation frequently appear.

  1. Architecture.

    • relating to a group of architectural styles that evolved in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries, adapting ancient Roman details or forms to contemporary uses while retaining an emphasis on symmetry, mathematical precision, and a general effect of simplicity and tranquility.

    • relating to any of the adaptations of this group of styles in foreign architecture that make playful or grotesque use of isolated details in more or less traditional buildings.

Origin of Renaissance

First recorded in 1830–40; from French, Middle French: “rebirth,” equivalent to renaiss- (stem of renaistre “to be born again,” from Latin renāscī, from re- re- + nāscī “to be born”) + -ance -ance

Other words for Renaissance

Other words from Renaissance

  • an·ti-Ren·ais·sance, adjective
  • post-Ren·ais·sance, adjective
  • pre-Ren·ais·sance, adjective
  • pro-Ren·ais·sance, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for renaissance (1 of 2)



/ (rəˈneɪsəns, US ˈrɛnəˌsɒns) /

  1. a revival or rebirth, esp of culture and learning

Origin of renaissance

C19: from French, from Latin re- + nascī to be born

British Dictionary definitions for Renaissance (2 of 2)


/ (rəˈneɪsəns, US ˈrɛnəˌsɒns) /

  1. the Renaissance the period of European history marking the waning of the Middle Ages and the rise of the modern world: usually considered as beginning in Italy in the 14th century

    • the spirit, culture, art, science, and thought of this period. Characteristics of the Renaissance are usually considered to include intensified classical scholarship, scientific and geographical discovery, a sense of individual human potentialities, and the assertion of the active and secular over the religious and contemplative life

    • (as modifier): Renaissance writers See also Early Renaissance, High Renaissance

  1. of, characteristic of, or relating to the Renaissance, its culture, etc

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

Cultural definitions for Renaissance


The cultural rebirth that occurred in Europe from roughly the fourteenth through the middle of the seventeenth centuries, based on the rediscovery of the literature of Greece and Rome. During the Renaissance, America was discovered, and the Reformation began; modern times are often considered to have begun with the Renaissance. Major figures of the Renaissance include Galileo, William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo. Renaissance means “rebirth” or “reawakening.”

Notes for Renaissance

The term renaissance is often used to describe any revival or rediscovery.

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.