[soo-meer-ee-uh n, -mer-]
  1. a native or inhabitant of Sumer.
  2. a language of unknown affinities that was the language of the Sumerians and had, in the late 4th and 3rd millenniums b.c., a well-developed literature that is preserved in pictographic and cuneiform writing and represents the world's oldest extant written documents.

Origin of Sumerian

First recorded in 1870–75; Sumer + -ian
Related formspre-Su·me·ri·an, adjective, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for sumerian


  1. a member of a people who established a civilization in Sumer during the 4th millennium bc
  2. the extinct language of this people, of no known relationship to any other language
  1. of or relating to ancient Sumer, its inhabitants, or their language or civilization
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 sumerian



1874, from French Sumérien (1872), from Sumer, name of a district in ancient Babylonia.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper