: an ornamental vertical groove especially in a Doric frieze
: a symbolic figure or a character (as in the Mayan system of writing) usually incised or carved in relief
: a symbol (such as a curved arrow on a road sign) that conveys information nonverbally
glyphic adjective

Examples of glyph in a Sentence

a rock inscribed with mysterious glyphs that some have speculated as being of Norse origin
Recent Examples on the Web There were other glyphs describing a breathing mountain in a watery world and a cormorant bird surrounding this mythical city. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 22 Nov. 2023 The glyph representing the Mayan calendar’s fourteenth month features the fruit, and Aztec nobles often received it as tribute. Alexander Sammon, Harper's Magazine, 16 Oct. 2023 The gas stations are mundane glyphs in an automotive alphabet, read west to east like an English sentence. Jason Farago, New York Times, 7 Sep. 2023 His eyes are wise and ancient, like cryptic glyphs carved into a rock of cold mountain. Jeff Weiss, Spin, 21 Aug. 2023 The same shell glyph that stands for zero in their number system appears here in a more abstract sense, signifying nothing. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 9 Jan. 2021 Haring made uninflected linear drawings almost exclusively glyphs and pictographs, like Paleolithic cave art with an agitated urban edge. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 6 June 2023 Aha, does this mean there’ll be glyphs in the Nothing Phone (2)? David Phelan, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2023 Encountering some arcane glyph, how often does the philologist stare hopelessly into the void of the indecipherable, when, all unexpectedly, lightning intuition dispels blindness, and meaning penetrates enigma? Cynthia Ozick, Harper’s Magazine , 10 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'glyph.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Greek glyphē carved work, from glyphein to carve — more at cleave

First Known Use

1775, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of glyph was in 1775

Dictionary Entries Near glyph

Cite this Entry

“Glyph.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

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