1

hieroglyphic

adjective hi·ero·glyph·ic \ ˌhī-(ə-)rə-ˈgli-fik \
variants: or less commonly hieroglyphical play \ˌhī-(ə-)rə-ˈgli-fi-kəl\

Definition of hieroglyphic

1 :written in, constituting, or belonging to a system of writing mainly in pictorial characters
2 :inscribed with hieroglyphic
3 :resembling hieroglyphic in difficulty of decipherment

hieroglyphically

play \ˌhī-(ə-)rə-ˈgli-fi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

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Recent Examples of hieroglyphic from the Web

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Did You Know?

If hieroglyphic writing is "all Greek to you," you know more about the etymology of hieroglyphic than you might think. That word comes from the Greek hieroglyphikos, which means "sacred carving" (from hieros, meaning "sacred," and glyphein, meaning "to carve"). The ancient Greeks who named hieroglyphic writing reserved that term for the picture writing they found carved in temple walls or on public monuments in Egypt; it was distinguished from writings done in ink on papyrus or other smooth surfaces. But since making their first appearances in English in the 1580s, both the noun hieroglyphics and the adjective hieroglyphic have been extended to apply to the picture writing of various cultures, whether or not those writings were carved or sacred.

Origin and Etymology of hieroglyphic

Middle French hieroglyphique, from Late Latin hieroglyphicus, from Greek hieroglyphikos, from hieros + glyphein to carve — more at cleave

Other Language Terms


2

hieroglyphic

noun

Definition of hieroglyphic

2 :a system of hieroglyphic writing; specifically :the picture script of the ancient Egyptian priesthood often used in plural but singular or plural in construction
3 :something that resembles a hieroglyph especially in difficulty of decipherment

Recent Examples of hieroglyphic from the Web

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

Illustration of hieroglyphic

First Known Use of hieroglyphic

1586

Other Language Terms


HIEROGLYPHIC Defined for Kids

hieroglyphic

noun hi·ero·glyph·ic \ ˌhī-ə-rə-ˈgli-fik \

Definition of hieroglyphic for Students

:any of the symbols in the picture writing of ancient Egypt


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