an ancient city of SW Asia, on the Euphrates River, famed for its magnificence and culture: capital of Babylonia and later of the Chaldean empire.
any rich and magnificent city believed to be a place of excessive luxury and wickedness.
a city on S Long Island, in SE New York.
an ancient empire in SW Asia, in the lower Euphrates valley: its greatest period was 2800–1750 b.c.
Capital: Babylon.
Contemporary Examples

When they ran out of food, he would “go down to Babylon to plunder,” which means stealing from grocery stores.
Speed Read: 9 Revelations From Elizabeth Smart’s Memoir, ‘My Story’ The Daily Beast October 9, 2013

Another quoted Psalm 137 to speak of the Jews exiled in Babylon longing for Zion.
What’s Missing from the Jerusalem Day Speil Gershom Gorenberg May 20, 2012

But Babylon asks us to do a little more: It wants us to empathize.
‘Babylon’ Review: The Dumb Lives of Trigger-Happy Cops Melissa Leon January 8, 2015

His latest book, Miami Babylon: Crime, Wealth and Power—A Dispatch from the Beach, was published this month.
The Taliban’s Heroin Ploy Gerald Posner October 18, 2009

O daughter of Babylon… Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
Up to a Point: Shrugging Our Way Back to War in Iraq P. J. O’Rourke August 15, 2014

Historical Examples

And Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written concerning Babylon.
The Bible Story Rev. Newton Marshall Hall

But Babylon was made into one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon

From that time Babylon became greater and more terrible than Nineveh, whose power it inherited.
The Expositor’s Bible F. W. Farrar

It reminds me, a captive by the waters of Babylon, that God is ever with the friendless.
Leila, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton

I have sat under the Palm-trees of Tadmor; smoked a pipe among the ruins of Babylon.
Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History Thomas Carlyle

the chief city of ancient Mesopotamia: first settled around 3000 bc See also Hanging Gardens of Babylon
(offensive) (in Protestant polemic) the Roman Catholic Church, regarded as the seat of luxury and corruption
(derogatory) any society or group in a society considered as corrupt or as a place of exile by another society or group, esp White Britain as viewed by some West Indians
the southern kingdom of ancient Mesopotamia: a great empire from about 2200–538 bc, when it was conquered by the Persians

mid-14c., from Greek version of Akkadian Bab-ilani “the gate of the gods,” from bab “gate” + ilani, plural of ilu “god” (cf. Babel). The Old Persian form, Babiru-, shows characteristic transformation of -l- to -r- in words assimilated from Semitic.
Babylon [(bab-uh-luhn, bab-uh-lon)]

The capital of the ancient empire of Babylonia, which conquered Israel in the sixth century b.c. The Jews were exiled to Babylon, which they found luxurious and corrupt. The prophet Daniel became a counselor to the king of Babylon (see the handwriting on the wall), and eventually the Israelites were allowed to return to their homeland. (See also Daniel in the lions’ den.)

Note: A “Babylon” is any place of sin and corruption.

Babylon [(bab-uh-luhn, bab-uh-lon)]

A city in ancient Mesopotamia, famed for its hanging gardens (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and for the sensual lifestyle of its people.

Note: The Jews were taken captive into Babylon in the sixth century b.c. (See also under “The Bible.”)

A development environment for expert systems. It includes frames, constraints, a prolog-like logic formalism, and a description language for diagnostic applications. It requires Common Lisp.

the Greek form of BABEL; Semitic form Babilu, meaning “The Gate of God.” In the Assyrian tablets it means “The city of the dispersion of the tribes.” The monumental list of its kings reaches back to B.C. 2300, and includes Khammurabi, or Amraphel (q.v.), the contemporary of Abraham. It stood on the Euphrates, about 200 miles above its junction with the Tigris, which flowed through its midst and divided it into two almost equal parts. The Elamites invaded Chaldea (i.e., Lower Mesopotamia, or Shinar, and Upper Mesopotamia, or Accad, now combined into one) and held it in subjection. At length Khammu-rabi delivered it from the foreign yoke, and founded the new empire of Chaldea (q.v.), making Babylon the capital of the united kingdom. This city gradually grew in extent and grandeur, but in process of time it became subject to Assyria. On the fall of Nineveh (B.C. 606) it threw off the Assyrian yoke, and became the capital of the growing Babylonian empire. Under Nebuchadnezzar it became one of the most splendid cities of the ancient world. After passing through various vicissitudes the city was occupied by Cyrus, “king of Elam,” B.C. 538, who issued a decree permitting the Jews to return to their own land (Ezra 1). It then ceased to be the capital of an empire. It was again and again visited by hostile armies, till its inhabitants were all driven from their homes, and the city became a complete desolation, its very site being forgotten from among men. On the west bank of the Euphrates, about 50 miles south of Bagdad, there is found a series of artificial mounds of vast extent. These are the ruins of this once famous proud city. These ruins are principally (1) the great mound called Babil by the Arabs. This was probably the noted Temple of Belus, which was a pyramid about 480 feet high. (2) The Kasr (i.e., “the palace”). This was the great palace of Nebuchadnezzar. It is almost a square, each side of which is about 700 feet long. The little town of Hillah, near the site of Babylon, is built almost wholly of bricks taken from this single mound. (3) A lofty mound, on the summit of which stands a modern tomb called Amran ibn-Ali. This is probably the most ancient portion of the remains of the city, and represents the ruins of the famous hanging-gardens, or perhaps of some royal palace. The utter desolation of the city once called “The glory of kingdoms” (Isa.13:19) was foretold by the prophets (Isa.13:4-22; Jer. 25:12; 50:2, 3; Dan. 2:31-38). The Babylon mentioned in 1 Pet. 5:13 was not Rome, as some have thought, but the literal city of Babylon, which was inhabited by many Jews at the time Peter wrote. In Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; and 18:2, “Babylon” is supposed to mean Rome, not considered as pagan, but as the prolongation of the ancient power in the papal form. Rome, pagan and papal, is regarded as one power. “The literal Babylon was the beginner and supporter of tyranny and idolatry…This city and its whole empire were taken by the Persians under Cyrus; the Persians were subdued by the Macedonians, and the Macedonians by the Romans; so that Rome succeeded to the power of old Babylon. And it was her method to adopt the worship of the false deities she had conquered; so that by her own act she became the heiress and successor of all the Babylonian idolatry, and of all that was introduced into it by the immediate successors of Babylon, and consequently of all the idolatry of the earth.” Rome, or “mystical Babylon,” is “that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (17:18).


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  • Babylon, kingdom of

    babylon, kingdom of called “the land of the Chaldeans” (Jer. 24:5; Ezek, 12:13), was an extensive province in Central Asia along the valley of the Tigris from the Persian Gulf northward for some 300 miles. It was famed for its fertility and its riches. Its capital was the city of Babylon, a great commercial centre […]

  • Babylonia

    an ancient empire in SW Asia, in the lower Euphrates valley: its greatest period was 2800–1750 b.c. Capital: Babylon. Contemporary Examples Several times, the Jews of Israel were exiled to what is now Iraq, and Babylonia became a center of Jewish scholarship. Saddam’s Jewish Treasures Josh Robin February 7, 2014 Historical Examples The key that […]

  • Babylonian

    of or relating to Babylon or Babylonia. extremely luxurious. wicked; sinful. an inhabitant of ancient Babylonia. the dialect of Akkadian spoken in Babylonia. Compare Akkadian (def 1). Contemporary Examples So no, this time I do not have much to say about the Babylonian Talmud. Really Living It Raphael Magarik November 15, 2012 Those are the […]

  • Babylonian captivity

    the period of the exile of the Jews in Babylonia, 597–538 b.c. the exile of the popes at Avignon, 1309–77. noun the exile of the Jews in Babylonia from about 586 to about 538 bc the exile of the seven popes in Avignon (1309–77) noun the period of during which the Jews were exiled by […]

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