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hieroglyphic

[hahy-er-uh-glif-ik, hahy-ruh-] /ˌhaɪ ər əˈglɪf ɪk, ˌhaɪ rə-/
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
1575-1585
1575-85; < Late Latin hieroglyphicus < Greek hieroglyphikós pertaining to sacred writing. See hiero-, glyphic
Related forms
hieroglyphically, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for hieroglyphic
  • Egyptologists accomplished an extraordinary feat in unraveling the hieroglyphic system.
  • On their skins are scrawled indecipherable messages in a beautiful hieroglyphic script.
  • Decorated polychrome vessel recovered from the burial of the hieroglyphic stairway.
  • Sorry for this hieroglyphic post so much against my natural style.
  • The hieroglyphic splatter of these markings gives the show a visceral subliminal power.
  • He chose the name for the shell because of its hieroglyphic markings.
  • Pencil-sized tunnels caused by some type of burrowing animal caused a series of hieroglyphic appearing designs on the beach.
  • If the trademark consisting of letters, words belonging to hieroglyphic languages, such words and letters shall be transliterated.
British Dictionary definitions for hieroglyphic

hieroglyphic

/ˌhaɪərəˈɡlɪfɪk/
adjective
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
noun
4.
a picture or symbol representing an object, concept, or sound
5.
a symbol or picture that is difficult to read or decipher
Derived Forms
hieroglyphically, adverb
hieroglyphist (ˌhaɪərəˈɡlɪfɪst; ˌhaɪəˈrɒɡ-) noun
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin hieroglyphicus, from Greek hierogluphikos, from hiero- + 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 hieroglyphic

1580s (adj. and n.), from Late Latin hieroglyphicus, from Greek hieroglyphikos "hieroglyphic; of Egyptian writing," from hieros "sacred" (see ire) + glyphe "carving," from glyphein "to carve" (see glyph). Plutarch began the custom of using the adjective (ta hieroglyphika) as a noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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26
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