• synonyms


[uhn-shee-uh l, -shuh l]
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  1. designating, written in, or pertaining to a form of majuscule writing having a curved or rounded shape and used chiefly in Greek and Latin manuscripts from about the 3rd to the 9th century a.d.
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  1. an uncial letter.
  2. uncial writing.
  3. a manuscript written in uncials.
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Origin of uncial

1640–50; < Late Latin unciālēs (litterae) (Jerome) uncial (letters), plural of Latin unciālis weighing one twelfth of a libra (see uncia, -al1); literal sense is unclear
Related formsun·ci·al·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for uncial

Historical Examples

  • The first in uncial Greek was by Tisisthenes, the son to whom the writing was addressed.


    H. Rider Haggard

  • First, the uncial, that is, those written in capital letters.

  • Kneeling down, we read upon the lintel the Greek inscription in uncial letters, cut when the Mosque was a Christian church.

  • Those of you who are judges of graphic character will see the nature of the letters; they are capital, or uncial letters.

  • They are both written in quarto, in uncial letters and double columns.

British Dictionary definitions for uncial


  1. of, relating to, or written in majuscule letters, as used in Greek and Latin manuscripts of the third to ninth centuries, that resemble modern capitals, but are characterized by much greater curvature and inclination and general inequality of height
  2. pertaining to an inch or an ounce
  3. pertaining to the duodecimal system
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  1. an uncial letter or manuscript
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Derived Formsuncially, adverb

Word Origin

C17: from Late Latin unciāles litterae letters an inch long, from Latin unciālis, from uncia one twelfth, inch, ounce 1
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 uncial

1640s, "pertaining to an ounce," from Latin uncialis "of an inch, of an ounce," from uncia "a twelfth part" (see inch). In reference to letters, it is attested from 1712, from Late Latin litterae unciales (Jerome), probably meaning "letters an inch high," from Latin uncialis "of an inch, inch-high."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper