of or relating to the ordinary, everyday, current form of a language; vernacular: a poet with a keen ear for demotic rhythms.
of or relating to the common people; popular.
of, relating to, or noting the simplified form of hieratic writing used in ancient Egypt between 700 b.c. and a.d. 500.


demotic script.
(initial capital letter) Also called Romaic. the Modern Greek vernacular (distinguished from Katharevusa).

Origin of demotic

1815–25; < Greek dēmotikós popular, plebeian, equivalent to dēmót(ēs) a plebeian (derivative of dêmos; see demo-) + -ikos -ic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for demotic

Contemporary Examples of demotic

  • Anything but demotic is Amar Bhide's A Call For Judgment, subtitled "Sensible Finance For A Dynamic Economy."

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Daily Beast's Favorite Books of 2010

    The Daily Beast

    December 18, 2010

  • The demotic self-deprecation barely masks a vast ambition, which is a kind of deception in itself, or an artifice.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Palin Paranoia Decoded

    Tunku Varadarajan

    November 23, 2010

  • An impatient lower court forced her to change it to the demotic “Gregorio,” noting that Venerdi was “a ridiculous name.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Week in Rage

    Adam Hanft

    October 24, 2008

Historical Examples of demotic

  • The Hieratic, like the Demotic, is always written from right to left.

    The New York Obelisk

    Charles E. Moldenke

  • In Demotic, if I understand aright, the vowels are not written and the consonants often do not mean what they seem to mean.

  • It is a stel of black basalt, bearing an inscription in Hieroglyphic, Demotic, and Greek.

    The New York Obelisk

    Charles E. Moldenke

  • What I expected was a reply in kind, an hieratic acceptance or a demotic refusal; either one would be good practice for Monny.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • No one any longer wrote in the hieroglyphic, hieratic, or demotic scripts; in a word, the hieroglyphic writing was forgotten.

British Dictionary definitions for demotic



of or relating to the common people; popular
of or relating to a simplified form of hieroglyphics used in ancient Egypt by the ordinary literate class outside the priesthoodCompare hieratic


the demotic script of ancient Egypt
Derived Formsdemotist, noun

Word Origin for demotic

C19: from Greek dēmotikos of the people, from dēmotēs a man of the people, commoner; see demos



the spoken form of Modern Greek, now increasingly used in literatureCompare Katharevusa


denoting or relating to this
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for demotic

1822, from Greek demotikos "of or for the common people, in common use," from demos "common people," originally "district," from PIE *da-mo- "division," from root *da- "to divide" (see tide). In contrast to hieratic. Originally of the simpler of two forms of ancient Egyptian writing; broader sense is from 1831; used of Greek since 1927.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper