See also: byzantine


Alternative formsEdit


From Late Latin byzantinus, itself from Byzantium. The metaphorical senses evoke the reputation for palace intrigue of the Byzantium imperial court.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /bɪˈzæntaɪn/, /baɪˈzæntaɪn/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈbɪzəntiːn/, /ˈbɪzəntaɪn/
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  • Rhymes: -iːn


Byzantine (comparative more Byzantine, superlative most Byzantine)

  1. Of or pertaining to Byzantium.
  2. (history) Belonging to the civilization of the Eastern Roman empire between 331, when its capital was moved to Constantinople, and 1453, when that capital was conquered by the Turks and ultimately renamed Istanbul.
  3. (architecture) Of a style of architecture prevalent in the Eastern Empire down to 1453, marked by the round arch springing from columns or piers, the dome supported upon pendentives, capitals elaborately sculptured, mosaic or other encrustations, etc.
  4. (figurative) Overly complex or intricate.
    a Byzantine system of regulations
    • 2014 July 1, Julia Powles, “The byzantine, meandering discussion on the future of the internet”, in The Guardian[1]:
      The byzantine, meandering processes of Icann are engineered in a way that avoids any dissent surfacing, all under the reassuring guise of consensus.
    • 2017 November 3, Julia Rampen, “A week in Pestminster”, in New Statesman[2]:
      Those following what has been dubbed “Pestminster” may nevertheless struggle to keep up with the Byzantine internal reporting structures, the range of accusations being levied and the sheer number of MPs involved.
  5. Of a devious, usually stealthy, manner or practice.
  6. (Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism) of or relating to the Byzantine Rite or any of the many Eastern Orthodox churches and Greek Catholic churches that use this rite for their liturgical celebrations

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


Byzantine (countable and uncountable, plural Byzantines)

  1. (historical) A native of Byzantium (modern-day Istanbul) or of the Byzantine empire
  2. (numismatics) Alternative form of byzantine (coin)
  3. (color) A dark, metallic shade of violet.