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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 glyphs
  • It was recently updated to match the particle glyphs described in the article.
  • Totalitarian glyphs and runes etched themselves in the minds of generations.
  • See the glyphs, carvings and paths, which are all constructed of stone.
  • These are loose, gawky glyphs of spiky, unidentifiable flora or fauna.
  • Sometimes there are no words at all, only pictures or diagrams or glyphs that may be deciphered into multiple meanings.
  • Here you'll see a series of figures painted with their name glyphs.
  • glyphs are visual symbols used to convey information based on appearance or position.
  • Once collected, this data is organized and displayed in student-constructed glyphs which are then interpreted.
  • The exact number of coronations recounted varies depending on the size of the vessel and the scale of the glyphs.
  • Interior motifs include bands, geometric glyphs and animal motifs.
British Dictionary definitions for glyphs


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 glyphs



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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