from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. See solidus.
  • n. Architecture A flat disk used as an ornament.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A coin made of gold or silver, minted at Byzantium and used in currency throughout mediaeval Europe.
  • n. The heraldic representation of a gold coin.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A gold coin of Byzantium or Constantinople, varying in weight and value, usually (those current in England) between a sovereign and a half sovereign. There were also white or silver bezants.
  • n. A circle in or, i. e., gold, representing the gold coin called bezant.
  • n. A decoration of a flat surface, as of a band or belt, representing circular disks lapping one upon another.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A gold coin (the proper name of which was solidus) issued by the emperors at Constantinople in the middle ages.
  • n. In heraldry, a small circle or; a gold roundel. It is a common bearing, and is supposed to have originated from the coins of Constantinople, assumed as bearings by crusaders.
  • n. Also spelled besant.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a gold coin of the Byzantine Empire; widely circulated in Europe in the Middle Ages


Middle English besant, from Old French, from Medieval Latin Bȳzantius, from Latin, of Byzantium.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French bezant, nominative bezanz, from Latin byzantius ("of Byzantium"). (Wiktionary)


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