“Tower of Babel: A structure erected after the Flood by the descendants of Noah when they reached Babylonia. According to Gen. 11, the plan was to build a tower that would reach to heaven, but Jehovah, displeased by the arrogance and presumption of the builders, “confounded their speech” so they could not understand one another and “scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth.” The story provides a biblical explanation for the diversity of languages around the world. Tower of Babel has come to signify an ambitious or visionary scheme; the word babel has become associated with a confused uproar in which nothing can be heard but the hubbub.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.