- 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.
- the chief city of ancient Mesopotamia: first settled around 3000 bcSee 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.
The capital of the ancient empire of Babylonia, which conquered Israel in the sixth century b.c. The Jews (see also 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.)