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Byzantine (BIZ-en-teen, -tin, bi-ZAN-tin) adjective

1. Of or relating to the ancient city of Byzantium. Of or relating to the Byzantine Empire.

2. Of or belonging to the style of architecture developed from the fifth century A.D. in the Byzantine Empire, characterized 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.

3. 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.

4. Of the Eastern Orthodox Church or the rites performed in it. Of a Uniat church that maintains the worship of the Eastern Orthodox Church or the rites performed in it.

5. Often byzantine. Of, relating to, or characterized by intrigue; scheming or devious. Highly complicated; intricate and involved.


A native or inhabitant of Byzantium or the Byzantine Empire.

"She then began trying to decode the military culture and penetrate its byzantine bureaucracy." Geoffrey Stevens, Starving the military, Maclean's, 13 Apr 1998.

This week's theme: toponyms.


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