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 While the subject of the inscription will likely remain a mystery, the Queen has publicly spoken about her love for her husband on multiple occasions. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth's Wedding Band Has a Secret Inscription," 10 Oct. 2020 On a rock at the entrance to this woodland burial ground is this simple Cyrillic inscription: ЛЮДИ, НЕ УБИВАЙТЕ ДРУГ ДРУГА (People, do not kill one another). Olivier Rolin, The New York Review of Books, "Yuri Dmitriev: Historian of Stalin’s Gulag, Victim of Putin’s Repression," 7 Oct. 2020 The inscription described a brother and sister who died within weeks of each other in 1834, essentially a century later. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "186-year-old headstone to be center of attention Oct. 20," 25 Sep. 2020 Piye recorded his victory in a 159-line inscription in Middle Egyptian hieroglyphics on a stele of dark gray granite preserved today in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Isma'il Kushkush; Photographs By Matt Stirn, Smithsonian Magazine, "In the Land of Kush," 19 Aug. 2020 Not only is each ring etched with the score of each of the Chiefs’ postseason victories, the inscription notes Kansas City’s deficit in each of the games. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Kansas City Chiefs present Super Bowl rings," 1 Sep. 2020 Per the Financial Times’ James Pickford, Mary’s French inscription is addressed to Louise. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Prayer Book Owned by Mary, Queen of Scots, Is Up for Sale," 9 June 2020 One such item is a 19th-century porcelain set with an inscription commemorating the wedding of Anne’s great-grandmother, Cornelia Stern. Cnaan Liphshiz,, "Frankfurt’s $58 million Jewish museum reclaims Anne Frank’s forgotten roots," 25 Aug. 2020 The material used for inscription needed to be pliable enough to be impressed upon, but sturdy enough not to change afterwards (early phonographs used wax). Dan Kopf, Quartz, "Vinyl sales rock on in spite of Covid-19," 21 Aug. 2020

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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Statistics for inscription

Last Updated

19 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inscription.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for inscription


How to pronounce inscription (audio)

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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