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[glif] /glɪf/
a pictograph or hieroglyph.
a sculptured figure or relief carving.
Architecture. an ornamental channel or groove.
Origin of glyph
1720-30; < Greek glyph() carving, derivative of glýphein to hollow out
Related forms
glyphic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for glyph
  • glyph series in caves may therefor have been primitive writing.
  • Infrared also brought to light many other details, including previously unseen glyph figures.
  • Whatever he may have meant by that glyph, certain people will recognize in it an apt symbol.
  • Explain that a glyph is a picture representation of different attributes.
  • Many of the glyphs are pictured, then line drawings are overlaid on the pictures to enhance the glyph designs.
  • The glyph variable text-pointer-glyph controls the shape of the mouse pointer when over text.
  • Additionally the top of the boulder has been ground flat and a cross glyph pecked onto its surface.
British Dictionary definitions for glyph


a carved channel or groove, esp a vertical one as used on a Doric frieze
(rare) another word for hieroglyphic
any computer-generated character regarded in terms of its shape and bit pattern
Derived Forms
glyphic, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from French glyphe, from Greek 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
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Word Origin and History for glyph

1727, "ornamental groove in architecture," from French glyphe (1701), from Greek glyphe "a carving," from glyphein "to hollow out, cut out with a knife, engrave, carve," from PIE root *gleubh- "to cut, slice" (cf. Latin glubere "to peel, shell, strip," Old English cleofan "to cleave"). Meaning "sculpted mark or symbol" (as in hieroglyph) is from 1825.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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glyph in Technology
An image used in the visual representation of characters; roughly speaking, how a character looks. A font is a set of glyphs.
In the simple case, for a given font (typeface and size), each character corresponds to a single glyph but this is not always the case, especially in a language with a large alphabet where one character may correspond to several glyphs or several characters to one glyph (a character encoding).
Usually used in reference to outline fonts, in particular TrueType.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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