hieroglyphic

[ hahy-er-uh-glif-ik, hahy-ruh- ]
/ ˌhaɪ ər əˈglɪf ɪk, ˌhaɪ rə- /

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 forms

hi·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 hieroglyphics

British Dictionary definitions for hieroglyphics (1 of 2)

hieroglyphics

/ (ˌhaɪərəˈɡlɪfɪks) /

noun (functioning as singular or plural)

a form of writing, esp as used in ancient Egypt, in which pictures or symbols are used to represent objects, concepts, or sounds
difficult or undecipherable writing

British Dictionary definitions for hieroglyphics (2 of 2)

hieroglyphic

/ (ˌhaɪərəˈɡlɪfɪk) /

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 Forms

hieroglyphically, 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

Culture definitions for hieroglyphics

hieroglyphics

[ (heye-uhr-uh-glif-iks, heye-ruh-glif-iks) ]

A system of writing with pictures that represent words or sounds. The ancient Egyptians wrote with hieroglyphics. (See Rosetta stone.)


Note

Present-day writing that is hard to decipher or understand is sometimes jokingly called “hieroglyphics.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.