in·​scrip·​tion | \ in-ˈskrip-shən \

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

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

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 First, the country has to demonstrate there's public support for the inscription. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "Singapore Wants to Protect Its Hawker Centers with UNESCO Status," 21 Aug. 2018 The museum then posted a photo on Instagram of a special inscription that Hailey ostensibly added to a part of the exhibit where fans can leave messages for Justin. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Justin Bieber Reportedly Referred to Hailey Baldwin as His Wife," 2 Oct. 2018 The memorials were generally plain columns with modest inscriptions that gave family members a place to gather and grieve. Shaun Assael, Glamour, "The Secret Fight to Save Confederate Monuments," 16 Aug. 2018 So far, the sarcophagus has not revealed any inscriptions, art, or artifacts buried with the skeletons. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "What's Inside This 2,000-Year-Old Mystery Sarcophagus?," 21 July 2018 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

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

29 Dec 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

More from Merriam-Webster on inscription

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inscription

Spanish Central: Translation of inscription

Nglish: Translation of inscription for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inscription for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about inscription

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).


to gather or build up little by little

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!