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  1. (among the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians) a temple of Sumerian origin in the form of a pyramidal tower, consisting of a number of stories and having about the outside a broad ascent winding round the structure, presenting the appearance of a series of terraces.
Also zik·ku·rat, zik·u·rat [zik-oo-rat] /ˈzɪk ʊˌræt/.

Origin of ziggurat

First recorded in 1875–80, ziggurat is from the Akkadian word ziqquratu
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ziggurat


zikkurat or zikurat (ˈzɪkʊˌræt)

  1. a type of rectangular temple tower or tiered mound erected by the Sumerians, Akkadians, and Babylonians in Mesopotamia. The tower of Babel is thought to be one of these

Word Origin for ziggurat

C19: from Assyrian ziqqurati summit, height
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 ziggurat

1858, from Assyrian ziqquratu "height, pinnacle," from zaqaru "to be high."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper