AskDefine | Define Babel

Dictionary Definition



1 a confusion of voices and other sounds
2 (Genesis
111-11) a tower built by Noah's descendants (probably in Babylon) who intended it to reach up to heaven; God foiled them by confusing their language so they could no longer understand one another [syn: Tower of Babel]

User Contributed Dictionary

see babel



From the Hebrew בבל (Babylon), from Akkadian bāb ili (gate of God); in Genesis associated with the idea of confusion.


IPA: /'beɪbəl/


  1. The city and tower in the land of Shinar where the confusion of languages took place, according to the Bible.
    • Therefore is the name of it called Babel. - Gen. xi. 9.
  2. Alternative spelling of babel.

See also

Extensive Definition

Babel (; Bavel) (Arabic: بابل; Babel) is the name used in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an for the city of Babylon (Akkadian Babilu), notable in Genesis as the location of the Tower of Babel.
In Gen. 11:9, the name of Babel is etymologized by association with the Hebrew verb balal, "to confuse or confound": Balal is regarded as a contraction of earlier *balbal. The name bab-ilu in Akkadian means "gate of god" (from bab "gate" + ilu "god"). The word bab-el can also be seen to mean "gate of god" (from bab "gate" + el "god").
Babel is mentioned in Genesis 10:10 as the home city of Nimrod:[10] And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel (Persia), and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. [11] Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, [12] And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. (KJV)
According to Genesis 11:1–9, humankind, after the deluge, traveled from the mountain where the ark had rested, and settled in "a plain in the land of Shinar." Here, they attempted to build a city and a tower whose top would be in the Heavens, the Tower of Babel.
The attempt to build the city of Babel with its tower, caused God to respond. He confused the language of the people, ultimately halting the project, and scattered them across the earth.
Babel features in the prophecies of Jeremiah, and Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem is told in 2 Kings. The Book of Daniel is set at time of the Babylonian captivity. Such later references to Babel are normally translated into the more familiar Greek form "Babylon".


Babel in Czech: Bábel
Babel in Estonian: Paabel
Babel in Galician: Babel
Babel in Hebrew: בבל
Babel in Hungarian: Bábel
Babel in Dutch: Babel
Babel in Tamil: பாபேல்

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Aesopian language, Greek, argot, babble, bedlam, cacophony, cant, cipher, clamor, clash, code, confusion of tongues, cryptogram, double Dutch, garble, gibberish, gift of tongues, glossolalia, gobbledygook, harshness, hell, jangle, jar, jargon, jumble, mere noise, noise, pandemonium, racket, scramble, secret language, slang, static
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