Partially inherited from Old English Babilon/Babȳlōn, partially from Latin Babylōn, from Ancient Greek Βαβυλών (Babulṓn), from Akkadian 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 (KA2.DINGIR.RAKI /bābili/, literally “Gate of God”); the name of the ancient Chaldean capital and Biblical city of the Apocalypse.
- A city in ancient Mesopotamia built on the banks of the Euphrates, which was the capital of Babylonia.
- Any city of great wealth, luxury and vice.
- 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 2, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
- Mother […] considered that the exclusiveness of Peter's circle was due not to its distinction, but to the fact that it was an inner Babylon of prodigality and whoredom, from which every Kensingtonian held aloof, except on the conventional tip-and-run excursions in pursuit of shopping, tea and theatres.
- (Rastafari) Western civilization, seen as corrupt and materialistic, and contrasted with Zion.
- (Jamaican, MLE) The police.
- 2017 September 24, Jones, Emma, “Crime, sexism and a near death experience - former police officer lifts the lid on the hidden secrets of the force”, in Daily Mirror:
- When I was the first officer on the scene at a nightclub brawl, I was picked up by the throat and strangled by a huge Rastafarian who was trying to kill me. I was losing consciousness when Marlon told him to let me go.¶ I remember him saying, ‘She’s alright for Babylon. Put her down.’ He dropped me and I ran to the station with massive bruises around my neck.
- (police): See Thesaurus:police
- (slang) cops, police (law enforcement organisation)
- 1976, N. D. Williams · 1976, Ikael Torass, →ISBN, page 288:
- “Then she a-show I seh well right now she a-go call Babylon bwoy dem ofe carry I go gaol.”
- So she was explaining to me that she was about to call the police so that they'd take me to jail.
- 2011, Marcus Bethel, Scars and Stripes: The Lasting Impression, →ISBN, page 83:
- “All inna Buckingham Palace Iyah. Herb haffi burn! De healin' ah de nation haffi burn ... Rasta, I an I ah go leave before de Babylon cum pan de seen, Zeen.”
- Yes Sir, even in Buckingham Palace. We have to smoke marijuana! The healing of the nation needs to be smoked ... Hey man, I'm going to leave before the cops get here, you know what I mean?
- Him lucky Babylon didnt bruk one a dem maga foot deh.
- He's lucky that the cops didn't break one of his scrawny legs.
- (slang) An oppressive government or system.
- 1987, Paul McGilchrist, Black Voices: An Anthology of ACER'S Black Young Writers Competition, →ISBN, page 110:
- “[...] Black man can't live in a Babylon yu nah see it, we must return to our own land, back to Africa ; the Black man won't get no power , no justice inna Babylon [...]”
- [...] Blacks shouldn't live in this oppressive system. Don't you see? We have to return to our land, back to Africa. Blacks won't get any power. There's no justice in this oppressive system.
- Bun a fire pon Babylon!
- Down with the oppressive government!
- Richard Allsopp (main editor), Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage, 2003 (reprint by The University of the West Indies Press, originally 1996 by Oxford University Press), ISBN 9789766401450 (originally ISBN-10: 976-640-145-4), page 55
- Babylon – jamaicans.com Jamaican Patois dictionary
From Ancient Greek Βαβυλών (Babulṓn), from Akkadian 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 (Bābili [KA2.DINGIR.RAKI], literally “Gate of God”), translation of Sumerian 𒆍𒀭𒊏 (KA.DINGIR); the name of the ancient Chaldean capital and Biblical city of the Apocalypse.
- Babylon in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
- Babylon in The Perseus Project (1999) Perseus Encyclopedia
- Babylon in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
- Babylon in William Smith, editor (1854, 1857) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, volume 1 & 2, London: Walton and Maberly