• synonyms

Tower of Babel

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  1. See under Babel2(def 1).
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[bey-buh l, bab-uh l]
  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 Babel2

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


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3. tumult, turmoil, uproar, bedlam, clamor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tower of babel

Historical Examples

  • On a nearer view it is more like a Tower-of-Babel concern, with its click and clatter.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for tower of 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

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 tower of 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