in·​scrip·​tion | \ in-ˈskrip-shən How to pronounce inscription (audio) \

Definition of inscription

1a : something that is inscribed also : superscription
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

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Other Words from inscription

inscriptional \ in-​ˈskrip-​shnəl How to pronounce inscriptional (audio) , -​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

Coins, ceramic fragments, ossuaries and stone slabs bear inscriptions in Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Samaritan, illustrating the kaleidoscopic variety of cultures present in the Holy Land during the first centuries. Fox News, "Franciscan museum in Jerusalem shows life in Jesus' time," 7 July 2018 In 1984, a milestone exhibition of rugs that bore inscriptions of Armenian text as part of their designs opened at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. Glenn Dixon, Smithsonian, "The Age-Old Tradition of Armenian Carpet Making Refuses to Be Swept Under the Rug," 6 July 2018 The beautiful inscriptions and image of the very tree that was used to make that barrel caught Michael's [St. Supéry winemaker] and my attention when visiting Bordeaux. Karen Lubeck, Town & Country, "The 2017 Vintage Makes Its Star Debut at the Premiere Napa Valley Wine Auction," 4 Mar. 2019 That tension comes through in his frenemy inscriptions. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Issue One: Would you wear a suit that once belonged to John McLaughlin?," 4 June 2018 Its walls bear his image, and inscriptions mention his name, but his general Ptolemy, who came to rule Egypt after his death, promoted cult worship of Alexander; the shrine might well be Ptolemy’s work. James Romm, WSJ, "‘Soldier, Priest, and God’ Review: The Emperor Divine," 13 Dec. 2018 To the right and left of the apse are Coptic inscriptions. Jim Berkeley, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to Egypt," 5 Oct. 2016 Roman imperial cameos set into royal mounts with inscriptions amended during the Revolution tell many tales. Melik Kaylan, WSJ, "‘Devotion and Decadence: The Berthouville Treasure and Roman Luxury From the Bibliothèque Nationale de France’ Review: Shining Silver From an Untarnished Trove," 31 Oct. 2018 It was breached and rebuilt numerous times over its millennium of sustaining life in the region, with one inscription indicating that one rehabilitation effort required some 20,000 men and 14,000 camels. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Archaeologists fear biblical artifacts, monuments won't survive Yemen war," 9 Aug. 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.

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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

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Statistics for inscription

Last Updated

21 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for inscription

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

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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 How to pronounce inscription (audio) \

Kids Definition of inscription

: words or a name inscribed on a surface


in·​scrip·​tion | \ in-ˈskrip-shən How to pronounce inscription (audio) \

Medical Definition of inscription

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

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Comments on inscription

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