cu·​ne·​i·​form | \ kyü-ˈnē-ə-ˌfȯrm How to pronounce cuneiform (audio) , ˈkyü-n(ē-)ə- How to pronounce cuneiform (audio) \

Definition of cuneiform

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having the shape of a wedge
2 : composed of or written in wedge-shaped characters cuneiform syllabary



Definition of cuneiform (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a cuneiform part specifically : a cuneiform bone or cartilage
2 : cuneiform writing

Illustration of cuneiform

Illustration of cuneiform


cuneiform 2

In the meaning defined above

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Examples of cuneiform in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Separately, Naomi Rea reports for artnet News, the British Museum will return a set of 154 Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets to the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Hundreds of Artifacts Looted From Iraq and Afghanistan to Be Repatriated," 9 July 2019 However, the bone at the base of our big toe—called the medial cuneiform—has a connection for the big toe that is more curved and slightly more angled than what is found in humans today. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Ancient Toddler Was at Home on the Ground and in the Trees," 5 July 2018 The cuneiform script revealed that the city was indeed Mardaman. James Rogers, Fox News, "Lost city mystery solved as archaeologists decipher ancient stone tablets," 17 May 2018 And there were 371 cylinder seals — small engraved stone cylinders that, when rolled on wet clay, create raised images that can include cuneiform writing or pictures. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Antiquities forfeited by Hobby Lobby returned to Iraq," 3 May 2018 The cuneiform tablets and clay bullae were smuggled into the United States through the United Arab Emirates and Israel, Justice officials said. Susannah Cullinane, CNN, "Those ancient artifacts that were illegally smuggled to Hobby Lobby are headed home to Iraq," 2 May 2018 The artifacts included cuneiform tablets, clay bullae, and cylinder seals. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "Hobby Lobby Bought Thousands of Smuggled Iraqi Artifacts in 2010. Now It's Sending Them Back.," 2 May 2018 The shipping labels on these packages falsely described the cuneiform tablets as tile samples. Peggy Mcglone,, "Hobby Lobby forced to return artifacts to Iraq," 2 May 2018 Steve Green, the president of the nationwide arts-and-crafts retailer, traveled to the United Arab Emirates in July of that year to inspect cuneiform tablets and other antiques, the DOJ said. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "US to return thousands of artifacts seized from Hobby Lobby to Iraq," 1 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cuneiform.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cuneiform


1677, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1808, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cuneiform


probably from French cunéiforme, from Middle French, from Latin cuneus + Middle French -iforme -iform

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The first known use of cuneiform was in 1677

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English Language Learners Definition of cuneiform

: relating to or written in a system of writing used in parts of the ancient Middle East


cu·​ne·​i·​form | \ kyu̇-ˈnē-ə-ˌfȯrm How to pronounce cuneiform (audio) \

Kids Definition of cuneiform

: made up of or written with marks or letters shaped like wedges

Other Words from cuneiform

cuneiform noun


cu·​ne·​i·​form | \ kyu̇-ˈnē-ə-ˌfȯrm How to pronounce cuneiform (audio) , ˈkyü-n(ē-)ə- How to pronounce cuneiform (audio) \

Medical Definition of cuneiform

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being a cuneiform bone or cartilage
2 of a human skull : wedge-shaped as viewed from above



Medical Definition of cuneiform (Entry 2 of 2)

: a cuneiform bone or cartilage

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cuneiform Encyclopedia article about cuneiform

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What made you want to look up cuneiform? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

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