[hahy-er-uh-glif-ik, hahy-ruh-]
Also, hieroglyphical. 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.
Also, hieroglyph. a hieroglyphic symbol.
Usually, hieroglyphics. hieroglyphic writing.
a figure or symbol with a hidden meaning.
hieroglyphics, handwriting, figures, characters, code, etc., difficult to decipher: the confusing hieroglyphics of advanced mathematics.

1575–85; < Late Latin hieroglyphicus < Greek hieroglyphikós pertaining to sacred writing. See hiero-, glyphic

hieroglyphically, adverb
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World English Dictionary
hieroglyphic (ˌhaɪərəˈɡlɪfɪk)
1.  of or relating to a form of writing using picture symbols, esp as used in ancient Egypt
2.  written with hieroglyphic symbols
3.  difficult to read or decipher
4.  a picture or symbol representing an object, concept, or sound
5.  a symbol or picture that is difficult to read or decipher
[C16: from Late Latin hieroglyphicus, from Greek hierogluphikos, from hiero- + gluphē carving, from gluphein to carve]

hieroglyphics (ˌhaɪərəˈɡlɪfɪks)
1.  a form of writing, esp as used in ancient Egypt, in which pictures or symbols are used to represent objects, concepts, or sounds
2.  difficult or undecipherable writing

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1585, from L.L. hieroglyphicus, from Gk. hieroglyphikos, from hieros "sacred" + glyphe "carving," from glyphein "to carve." Plutarch began the custom of using the adj. (ta hieroglyphika) as a noun.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
They are learning to decipher the hieroglyphics of their ancestors -- a vast
  legacy left on stone, bark paper, and ceramic.
Egyptians included in their hieroglyphics a symbol for the electric catfish of
  the Nile.
He did not go to college, but learned Egyptian hieroglyphics and five languages
  as a teenager.
The mantel is topped by a triangular slab decorated with hieroglyphics, a
  scarab, winged figures.
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