SINCE1828
Byzantine adjective
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Byz·​an·​tine | \ ˈbi-zᵊn-ˌtēn
, ˈbī-, -ˌtīn; bə-ˈzan-ˌtēn, bī-ˈzan-
\
Definition of Byzantine (Entry 1 of 2)
1: of, relating to, or characteristic of the ancient city of Byzantium
Byzantine art
2architecture : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a style of architecture developed in the Byzantine Empire especially in the fifth and sixth centuries featuring the dome carried on pendentives over a square and incrustation with marble veneering and with colored mosaics on grounds of gold
3Christianity : of or relating to the churches using a traditional Greek rite and subject to Eastern (see EASTERNsense 2) canon law
4often not capitalized
a: of, relating to, or characterized by a devious and usually surreptitious manner of operation
a Byzantine power struggle
b: intricately involved : LABYRINTHINE
rules of Byzantine complexity
Byzantine noun
Definition of Byzantine (Entry 2 of 2)
: a native or inhabitant of Byzantium
Synonyms & Antonyms
Byzantine, a Word for History Buffs
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Synonyms & Antonyms for Byzantine
Synonyms: Adjective
baroque, complex, complicate, complicated, convoluted, daedal, elaborate, intricate, involute, involved, knotty, labyrinthian, labyrinthine, sophisticated, tangled
Antonyms: Adjective
noncomplex, noncomplicated, plain, simple, uncomplicated
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Byzantine, a Word for History Buffs
Adjective
Today, the city that lies on the Bosporus Strait in Turkey is named Istanbul, but it was once known as Constantinople (a name given to it when it became capital of the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire), and in ancient times, it was called Byzantium. Its history is exotic—filled with mystics, wars, and political infighting—and the word Byzantine (from Late Latin Byzantinus, for "native of Byzantium") became synonymous with anything characteristic of the city or empire, from architecture to intrigue. The figurative sense of labyrinthine deviousness first appeared in the late 1930s. It was popularized by its frequent use in reference to the Soviet Union, whose secrecy and despotism were equated by Westerners with what went on in the old Byzantine Empire.
First Known Use of Byzantine
Adjective
1651, in the meaning defined at sense 1
Noun
1651, in the meaning defined above
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The first known use of Byzantine was in 1651
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Dictionary Entries Near Byzantine
by-your-leave
byzant
Byzantian
Byzantine
Byzantine chant
Byzantine speedwell
Byzantinesque
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Cite this Entry
“Byzantine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Byzantine. Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.
Style: MLA
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Nglish: Translation of Byzantine for Spanish Speakers
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