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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 for hieroglyphs
  • hieroglyphs found inside the pyramids provide historical archives.
  • From bureaucratic cuneiform to monumental hieroglyphs, early writing systems were mostly divorced from speech.
  • There are ten hieroglyphs on the column, and the writing appears to be the end of a text that began above it.
  • On bowls of this type, the decorative elements and hieroglyphs themselves define the colors of the figures.
  • The surface of the stone is heavily weathered, nearly masking the rows of hieroglyphs engraved on all sides.
  • Construction of a structure to protect hieroglyphs from deterioration.
  • Enter a dynamic world of immersive sound, living hieroglyphs and dripping ice.
  • hieroglyphs emerged from the preliterate artistic traditions of egypt.
British Dictionary definitions for hieroglyphs

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 hieroglyphs
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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