hieroglyphic

[hahy-er-uh-glif-ik, hahy-ruh-]

adjective

Also hi·er·o·glyph·i·cal. designating or pertaining to a pictographic script, particularly that of the ancient Egyptians, in which many of the symbols are conventionalized, recognizable pictures of the things represented.
inscribed with hieroglyphic symbols.
hard to decipher; hard to read.

noun


Origin of hieroglyphic

1575–85; < Late Latin hieroglyphicus < Greek hieroglyphikós “pertaining to sacred writing.” See hiero-, glyph, -ic
Related formshi·er·o·glyph·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for hieroglyphic

Historical Examples of hieroglyphic

  • It's a long trail from the old plow factory to the hieroglyphic spring, Roger.

    The Forbidden Trail

    Honor Willsie

  • I was brought up to a farm life: it is surely no hieroglyphic to me.

    Debts of Honor

    Maurus Jkai

  • These months received each a name, and were of course designated by a hieroglyphic.

  • But the Incas had no hieroglyphic or pictorial system of recording events.

  • Specimens of their hieroglyphic writings have been given in the preceding chapter.


British Dictionary definitions for hieroglyphic

hieroglyphic

adjective Also: hieroglyphical

of or relating to a form of writing using picture symbols, esp as used in ancient Egypt
written with hieroglyphic symbols
difficult to read or decipher

noun Also: hieroglyph

a picture or symbol representing an object, concept, or sound
a symbol or picture that is difficult to read or decipher
Derived Formshieroglyphically, adverbhieroglyphist (ˌhaɪərəˈɡlɪfɪst, ˌhaɪəˈrɒɡ-), noun

Word Origin for hieroglyphic

C16: from Late Latin hieroglyphicus, from Greek hierogluphikos, from hiero- + gluphē carving, from gluphein to carve
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 hieroglyphic

1580s (adj. and n.), from Late Latin hieroglyphicus, from Greek hieroglyphikos "hieroglyphic; of Egyptian writing," from hieros "sacred" (see ire) + glyphe "carving," from glyphein "to carve" (see glyph). Plutarch began the custom of using the adjective (ta hieroglyphika) as a noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper