hieroglyphic

[hahy-er-uh-glif-ik, hahy-ruh-]
adjective
1.
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.
2.
inscribed with hieroglyphic symbols.
3.
hard to decipher; hard to read.
noun
4.
Also, hieroglyph. a hieroglyphic symbol.
5.
Usually, hieroglyphics. hieroglyphic writing.
6.
a figure or symbol with a hidden meaning.
7.
hieroglyphics, handwriting, figures, characters, code, etc., difficult to decipher: the confusing hieroglyphics of advanced mathematics.

Origin:
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)
 
adj
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
 
n
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]
 
hiero'glyphically
 
adv
 
hieroglyphist
 
n

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

hieroglyphic
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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Example sentences
She stands on the hieroglyph for gold, which is also a symbol of the sun.
Early explorers and pioneers also made petroglyphs pictograph: a picture representing a word or idea, a hieroglyph.
To depict a number it was necessary to repeat the hieroglyph as many times as it occurred in the number.
A hieroglyph used as a logogram defines the object of which it is an image.
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