[ hahy-uh-rat-ik, hahy-rat- ]
/ ˌhaɪ əˈræt ɪk, haɪˈræt- /


Also hi·er·at·i·cal. of or relating to priests or the priesthood; sacerdotal; priestly.
noting or pertaining to a form of ancient Egyptian writing consisting of abridged forms of hieroglyphics, used by the priests in their records.
noting or pertaining to certain styles in art in which the representations or methods are fixed by or as if by religious tradition.
highly restrained or severe in emotional import: Some of the more hieratic sculptures leave the viewer curiously unmoved.


ancient Egyptian hieratic writing.

Origin of hieratic

1650–60; < Latin hierāticus < Greek hierātikós pertaining to the priesthood, priestly, equivalent to hierā-, variant stem of hierâsthai to perform priestly functions (verbal derivative of hierós sacred; see hiero-) + -ikos -ic, with -t- by analogy with derivatives from agent nouns in -tēs (cf. athlete, athletic)

Related forms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hieratic

British Dictionary definitions for hieratic


/ (ˌhaɪəˈrætɪk) /

adjective Also: hieratical

of or relating to priests
of or relating to a cursive form of hieroglyphics used by priests in ancient Egypt
of or relating to styles in art that adhere to certain fixed types or methods, as in ancient Egypt


the hieratic script of ancient Egypt

Derived Forms

hieratically, adverb

Word Origin for hieratic

C17: from Latin hierāticus, from Greek hieratikos, from hiereus a priest, from hieros holy
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