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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Xyst \Xyst\, Xystus \Xys"tus\, n. [L. xystus, Gr. ?, from ? to scrape, polish; -- so called from its smooth and polished floor.] (Anc. Arch.) A long and open portico, for athletic exercises, as wrestling, running, etc., for use in winter or in stormy weather.


n. (context in Ancient Greece English) A long and open portico within the gymnasium.


Xystus has several meanings:

  • Xystus, a Greek architectural term denoting the covered portico of a gymnasium
  • Xystus, another spelling for the Roman name Sixtus
  • Pope St. Xystus I
  • Pope St. Xystus II
  • Pope St. Xystus III
  • Xystus, a Greek student of Pythagoreanism with whom the authors of the Liber Pontificalis perhaps conflated with Xystus I
  • Xystus (weevil), a beetle genus in the tribe Madopterini

da:Xystos fr:Xyste

Xystus (architectural term)

Xystus was the Greek architectural term for the covered portico of the gymnasium, in which the exercises took place during the winter or in rainy weather, etc. The Romans applied the term to the garden walk in front of the porticoes, which was divided into flower beds with borders of box, and to a promenade between rows of large trees.

"Xystus" derives from the Greek word xustos, meaning "smooth", due to the polished floor of the xystus. "Xystus" was used, by extension, to refer to the whole building containing the gymnasium and portico, as in the xysti of Jerusalem and Elis. Xyst is an alternative spelling for xystus, and xystarch as the term for a superintendent of a xystus. In Latin, xystum is the accusative case of the nominative xystus; in modern architecture, xystum has a different meaning from xystus.

Usage examples of "xystus".

But go up to Jerusalem next Passover, and stand on the Xystus or in the Street of Barter, and see him as he is.

On the houses far as the Xystus, fast as the word could fly, they waved their shawls and handkerchiefs and shouted.