hieroglyphic

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English[edit]

Hieroglyphs typical of the Graeco-Roman period.

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

First coined 1726, from Middle French hiéroglyphique, from Latin hieroglyphicus, from Ancient Greek ἱερογλυφικός (hierogluphikós), from ἱερογλυφέω (hierogluphéō, to represent hieroglyphically), from ἱερός (hierós, sacred, holy) + γλύφω (glúphō, to carve, to engrave, to cut out)

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

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Wikipedia

hieroglyphic (plural hieroglyphics)

  1. (chiefly in the plural) a writing system of ancient Egypt, Minoans, Maya and other civilizations, using pictorial symbols to represent individual sounds as a rebus
  2. any symbol used in this system; a hieroglyph
  3. (by extension) undecipherable handwriting or secret symbol

Usage notes[edit]

The use of this word in the plural, as well as its use to mean ‘a hieroglyph’, are commonly proscribed by Egyptologists; for example, James P. Allen writes, ‘Each sign in this system is a hieroglyph, and the system as a whole is called hieroglyphic (not “hieroglyphics”).’ Thus, while the use of ‘hieroglyphics’ is quite common in works written by laymen (and formerly in 19th-century academic works), it is rare in modern academic works written by Egyptologists.

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

hieroglyphic (comparative more hieroglyphic, superlative most hieroglyphic)

  1. of, relating to, or written with this system of symbols
    hieroglyphic writing
    hieroglyphic obelisk
  2. difficult to decipher

Translations[edit]