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 inscription (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

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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 Many have speculated about the meaning of the number 1232 scratched into the rock along with a Latin inscription, calling it everything from an enigma to a hoax. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 25 Aug. 2021 Women also led protests in Kabul, draping themselves in the black, red and green colors of the Afghan national flag, which the Taliban wants to replace with its own, a white banner with a black Islamic inscription. Zahra Nader, Time, 20 Aug. 2021 The Taliban uses a white banner with a black inscription of the shahada, the Arabic term for the declaration of faith in Allah. Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2021 Inside, the hat does bear some inscription, in addition to being the appropriate size for Napoleon’s head, which eventually led to a closer examination. Guy Martin, Forbes, 6 Sep. 2021 These are songs as literature, each verse an inscription on a tablet. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, 17 Aug. 2021 On the front of the artifact is an inscription showing a diagram of a field. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 16 Aug. 2021 The development's proposal -- which includes apartments, offices, shops and hotels in the old docks -- was responsible for Liverpool's inscription on the endangered list in 2012. Julia Buckley, CNN, 21 July 2021 Experts found the inscription in the town of Al Hait. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 July 2021

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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Time Traveler for inscription

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

8 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inscription.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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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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