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[pe-truh-glif] /ˈpɛ trəˌglɪf/
a drawing or carving on rock, made by a member of a prehistoric people.
Also called petrograph.
1865-70; < French pétroglyphe. See petro-1, glyph
Related forms
petroglyphic, adjective
[pi-trog-luh-fee] /pɪˈtrɒg lə fi/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for petroglyphs
  • Then, heading up the canyon, he zigged to a corner to show us a string of thousand-year-old petroglyphs.
  • petroglyphs are one of the earliest expressions of abstract thinking and are considered a hallmark of humanity.
  • The character of the petroglyphs is essentially savage.
  • Hiking trails take in ancient petroglyphs, high desert wildlife, and sandstone shrine used for meditation and concerts.
  • It is an area that has the largest number of petroglyphs in the country.
  • It is also one of the few sites giving visitors such direct access to petroglyphs.
  • Bring binoculars to better view the high petroglyphs.
  • Easy to moderate hiking to petroglyphs and dinosaur track sites.
  • No one can say for sure what many petroglyphs portray.
  • Over the years many of the boulders have been covered with these chiseled figures known as petroglyphs.
British Dictionary definitions for petroglyphs


a drawing or carving on rock, esp a prehistoric one
Word Origin
C19: via French from Greek petra stone + gluphē carving
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 petroglyphs



1870, from French pétroglyphe, from Greek petra "rock" (see petrous) + glyphe "carving" (see glyph).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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