Definition of Sumerian in English:

Sumerian

Syllabification: Su·me·ri·an
Pronunciation: /səˈmerēən, -ˈmiər-
 
/

adjective

Of or relating to Sumer, its ancient language, or the early, non-Semitic element it contributed to Babylonian civilization.
More example sentences
  • As early as 3500 BC the Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia was smoking fish; and the Chinese may well have been practising it equally early, though there is no evidence of this until later, when smoked foods are mentioned as normal items.
  • Items from ancient Babylon and Nineveh, Sumerian statues, Assyrian reliefs and 5,000-year-old tablets bearing some of the earliest known writing have been taken or damaged whilst troops stood by and watched.
  • Ancient tablets bearing Sumerian cuneiform, for example, feature descriptions of procedures for reckoning in base 60.

noun

Back to top  
1A member of the indigenous non-Semitic people of ancient Babylonia.
More example sentences
  • Once the trade capital of East Africa, Zanzibar attracted Sumerians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Arabs, Chinese and Malays, giving the city a distinct culture and history from mainland Tanzania.
  • Some of the most sophisticated ancient civilisations once thrived in Iraq, but the cities of the Babylonians, Assyrians and Sumerians have become fragile ruins, in a nation recovering from war.
  • The Sumerians, Akkadians, Mesopotamians and Ancient Egyptians certainly enjoyed them.
2The Sumerian language.

The Sumerians had one of the oldest known written languages, whose relationship to any other language is unclear. Theirs is the first historically attested civilization, and they invented cuneiform writing, the sexagesimal system of mathematics, and the sociopolitical institution of the city state. Their art, literature, and theology had a profound influence long after their demise circa 2000 bc

More example sentences
  • By then, Rawlinson and his many rivals had revealed the history of Old Testament cities and the existence of the earliest writing and the oldest language known, Sumerian, dating back five millennia.
  • The poems are written in Akkadian and Sumerian, the latter a mainly academic, scribal language, the former a Semitic language related to Hebrew and Arabic.
  • First, Sumerian is usually translated through reference to Akkadian translations of Sumerian words and passages, and hence we are dependent on Akkadian understanding of Sumerian.

Origin

late 19th century: from French sumérien, from Sumer.

Definition of Sumerian in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day neoteny
Pronunciation: nēˈätn-ē
noun
retention of juvenile features in the adult animal