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[ih-liz-uh-bee-thuh n, -beth-uh n] /ɪˌlɪz əˈbi θən, -ˈbɛθ ən/
of or relating to the reign of Elizabeth I, queen of England, or to her times:
Elizabethan diplomacy; Elizabethan music.
noting or pertaining to an English Renaissance style of architecture of the reign of Elizabeth I characterized by fantastic sculptured or molded ornament of German or Flemish origin, symmetrical layouts, and an emphasis on domestic architecture.
Compare Jacobean (def 2).
an English person who lived during the Elizabethan period, especially a poet or dramatist.
Origin of Elizabethan
1810-20; Elizabeth + -an
Related forms
half-Elizabethan, adjective
post-Elizabethan, adjective
pro-Elizabethan, adjective
pseudo-Elizabethan, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Elizabethan
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Tree arbors were in use in Elizabethan times, platforms built in the branches of large trees.

    Old-Time Gardens Alice Morse Earle
  • Harvey himself was but the posthumous child of the great Elizabethan period.

    Medical Essays Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • For the splendour of the Elizabethan age, which is always spoken of as a sunrise, was in many ways a sunset.

    A Short History of England G. K. Chesterton
  • To rummage means in the Elizabethan navigators to stow goods in a hold.

  • But in Elizabethan and Jacobean times, buttery always meant the place where the beer (or wine) was kept.

  • In the Elizabethan age all diction was free to poetry, and was freely used.

    Milton Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh
  • This use of still is frequent in Elizabethan writers (Abbott, § 69).

    Milton's Comus John Milton
  • These Manchester men had little of the Crusader or Elizabethan but his valour.

British Dictionary definitions for Elizabethan


of, characteristic of, or relating to England or its culture in the age of Elizabeth I or to the United Kingdom or its culture in the age of Elizabeth II
of, relating to, or designating a style of architecture used in England during the reign of Elizabeth I, characterized by moulded and sculptured ornament based on German and Flemish models
a person who lived in England during the reign of Elizabeth I
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Elizabethan

1807 (Elizabethean); Coleridge (1817) has Elizabethian, and Carlyle (1840) finally attains the modern form. "Belonging to the period of Queen Elizabeth I" (1558-1603). The noun is first attested 1881. See Elizabeth.

John Knox, one of the exiles for religion in Switzerland, publiſhed his "Firſt Blaſt of the Trumpet againſt the Government of Women," in this reign [of Elizabeth]. It was lucky for him that he was out of the queen's reach when he ſounded the trumpet. [The Rev. Mr. James Granger, "A Biographical History of England," 1769]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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