from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of or relating to the ancient city of Byzantium.
  • adjective Of or relating to the Byzantine Empire.
  • adjective Of or belonging to the style of architecture developed from the fifth century AD in the Byzantine Empire, characterized especially by a central dome resting on a cube formed by four round arches and their pendentives and by the extensive use of surface decoration, especially veined marble panels, low relief carving, and colored glass mosaics.
  • adjective Of the painting and decorative style developed in the Byzantine Empire, characterized by formality of design, frontal stylized presentation of figures, rich use of color, especially gold, and generally religious subject matter.
  • adjective Of the Eastern Orthodox Church or the rites performed in it.
  • adjective Of an Eastern Catholic church that maintains the worship of the Eastern Orthodox Church or the rites performed in it.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or characterized by intrigue; scheming or devious.
  • adjective Highly complicated; intricate and involved.
  • noun A native or inhabitant of Byzantium or the Byzantine Empire.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Pertaining to Byzantium, or Constantinople, an ancient city of Thrace, situated on the Bosporus, which became the capital of the Byzantine or Eastern empire, or to the empire itself.
  • noun A native or an inhabitant of Byzantium. See I.
  • noun Same as bezant

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to Byzantium.
  • adjective the Eastern or Greek church, as distinguished from the Western or Roman or Latin church. See under Greek.
  • adjective the Eastern Roman or Greek empire from a. d. 364 or a. d. 395 to the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, a. d. 1453.
  • adjective historians and writers (Zonaras, Procopius, etc.) who lived in the Byzantine empire.
  • adjective (Arch.) a style of architecture developed in the Byzantine empire.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Overly complex or intricate.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to Byzantium.
  • adjective of a devious, usually stealthy manner, of practice.
  • noun rare A native of Byzantium (modern-day Istanbul)
  • noun history Belonging to the civilization of the Eastern-Roman empire, between 331 A.D. when the capital was moved to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and up 1453 when it was conquered by the Turks.
  • noun Alternative form of byzantine. (coin)

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

  • adjective of or relating to or characteristic of the Byzantine Empire or the ancient city of Byzantium
  • adjective highly complex or intricate and occasionally devious
  • adjective of or relating to the Eastern Orthodox Church or the rites performed in it
  • noun a native or inhabitant of Byzantium or of the Byzantine Empire


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin byzantinus itself from Byzantium


  • (W.R. L.) [1] For Byzantine literature see GR.EK LITER.TUR.: _Byzantine_.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 4 "Bulgaria" to "Calgary"

  • The word Byzantine had been used by her first lover to describe her eyes.

    Dwellers in the Crucible

  • We begin the Middle Ages with the Byzantine metalwork, in order to remove at the outset the impression that the term Byzantine is used to express a definite period of time; it is used rather to denote a definite geographical circle of art and culture, that is to say,

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 10: Mass Music-Newman

  • The term Byzantine is therefore employed to designate this Eastern survival of the ancient Roman Empire.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3: Brownson-Clairvaux

  • The dissension of this discussion, which we call Byzantine -- because it is a discussion between two deaf and dumb -- because it differentiates between those who want to give the revolution a thrust and those who do not want to push it.


  • When the Greeks themselves had to face the problem of larger and more complex buildings, in the service of a supernatural and hierarchical system, they transformed their architecture into what we call Byzantine, and St. Sophia took the place of the Parthenon.

    The Sense of Beauty Being the Outlines of Aesthetic Theory

  • Gibbon had little time for the East Roman empire (which we call Byzantine, although nobody called it that at the time), but Wickham reminds us that for centuries it remained the most sophisticated and powerful state in the Eurasian world.

    BrothersJudd Blog

  • Mr. McDonald’s futuristic Istanbul reminds us of the complex underplay of European meets Middle Eastern politics, and why the term Byzantine entered our lexicon in the first place.

    Archive 2010-06-01

  • Of course, as Von Simson reminds us, a desire to evoke heaven and for the church to stand as a symbol of the new Jerusalem was not unique or new to Gothic architecture; one sees the same impulse in Byzantine and Romanesque buildings, and again very vividly in later Baroque architecture.

    The Theology and Metaphysics of the Gothic Cathedral - part 2

  • An indecisive election result led to the sorts of political negotiations for which the word Byzantine really is appropriate.

    It's Prime Minister David Cameron


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