in·scrip·tion | \in-ˈskrip-shən \

Definition of inscription 

1a : something that is inscribed also : superscription

b : epigraph sense 2

c : the wording on a coin, medal, seal, or currency note

2 : the dedication of a book or work of art

3a : the act of inscribing

b : the entering of a name on or as if on a list : enrollment

4 British

a : the act of inscribing securities

b inscriptions plural : inscribed securities

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from inscription

inscriptional \in-ˈskrip-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl \ adjective

Did You Know?

With its prefix in-, meaning "in" or "on", it's not surprising that an inscription is either written on or engraved into a surface. Inscriptions in the ancient world were always chiseled into stone, as inscriptions still may be today. The principal monument of the Vietnam memorial in Washington, D.C., for instance, is a black wall on which are inscribed the names of all the Americans who died during the war—each name in full, row upon seemingly endless row. But an inscription may also be a dedication, such as the words "For my wife" all by themselves on a page near the beginning of a book.

Examples of inscription in a Sentence

The painting had an inscription that read, “To my loving wife.” the inscription on a stone monument

Recent Examples on the Web

Some of the recruits lagged behind and read every word of inscriptions under the exhibits well after the rest of the group had moved on. Jenice Armstrong,, "Kudos to Philly police for sending recruits to Smithsonian African American Museum | Jenice Armstrong," 10 July 2018 San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ann Killion, who wrote the inscription on the plaque, didn't mince words. Chuck Schilken,, "Brandi Chastain is cool about odd Hall of Fame plaque: 'It’s not the most flattering. But it’s nice.'," 22 May 2018 Two resin samples, one ivory sample and the inscriptions on the ceramic boxes and jars from the wreck were included in the analysis. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Treasure trove reveals origins of 800-year-old shipwreck," 16 May 2018 That's the inscription on Coleen Salley's headstone. Mike Scott,, "Once upon a time, there was a storyteller named Coleen," 3 May 2018 An inscription on the monument says Mussolini presented Chicago with the Roman pillar in commemoration of Balbo's flight to the city. John Byrne,, "Measure to rechristen Balbo Drive in Ida B. Wells' honor won't get vote this week," 18 June 2018 An ancient statue of a Nubian king with an inscription written in Egyptian hieroglyphics was also found at a Nile River temple in Sudan. James Rogers, Fox News, "Mysterious giant sarcophagus discovered in Egypt," 10 July 2018 The cuffs had an inscription with the name of the jail where Moore worked. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Alabama jailer accused of raping Cobb, Fulton women has been indicted," 30 June 2018 Some honor generals or soldiers; others bear inscriptions that critics say wrongly gloss over slavery as a reason for the war or portray the Confederate cause as noble. Jay Reeves,, "110 Confederate monuments have been taken down in the US since 2015, report says," 4 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of inscription

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for inscription

Middle English inscripcioun, from Latin inscription-, inscriptio, from inscribere

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inscription

Share inscription

Statistics for inscription

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inscription

The first known use of inscription was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for inscription



English Language Learners Definition of inscription

: words that are written on or cut into a surface


in·scrip·tion | \in-ˈskrip-shən \

Kids Definition of inscription

: words or a name inscribed on a surface


in·scrip·tion | \in-ˈskrip-shən \

Medical Definition of inscription 

: the part of a medical prescription that contains the names and quantities of the drugs to be compounded

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on inscription

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


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!