• WordNet 3.6
    • n hieroglyph a writing system using picture symbols; used in ancient Egypt
    • n hieroglyph writing that resembles hieroglyphics (usually by being illegible)
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Additional illustrations & photos:

Hieroglyphic Legend Hieroglyphic Legend

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Hieroglyph A sacred character; a character used in picture writing, as of the ancient Egyptians, Mexicans, etc. Specifically, in the plural, the picture writing of the ancient Egyptian priests. It is made up of three, or, as some say, four classes of characters: first, the hieroglyphic proper, or figurative, in which the representation of the object conveys the idea of the object itself; second, the ideographic, consisting of symbols representing ideas, not sounds, as an ostrich feather is a symbol of truth; third, the phonetic, consisting of symbols employed as syllables of a word, or as letters of the alphabet, having a certain sound, as a hawk represented the vowel a.
    • Hieroglyph Any character or figure which has, or is supposed to have, a hidden or mysterious significance; hence, any unintelligible or illegible character or mark.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n hieroglyph The figure of any object, especially a familiar object, as an animal, tree, weapon, staff, etc., standing for a word, or a syllable, or a part of a syllable, or a single sound; a figure representing an idea; and intended to convey a meaning, thus forming part of a mode of written communication. The name was first applied to the engraved marks and symbols found on the monuments and other records of ancient Egypt. Of these, some signified directly the objects represented by them; others, conceptions suggested by those objects; others, ideas having names identical with or closely resembling the names of the objects represented; others, part of the sounds composing those names, or even only their initial sounds-these last being nearly a true alphabet, and used especially in writing proper names. The name, which had its origin in the idea that the sculptured symbols were exclusively sacerdotal, is now given to any writing of a similar character, as that of the ancient Mexicans, Peruvians, etc.
    • n hieroglyph Any figure, character, or mark having or supposed to have a mysterious or enigmatical significance.
    • hieroglyph To write in hieroglyphs; represent by means of hieroglyphs.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Hieroglyph to represent by hieroglyphs
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  • Henry Miller
    “Until it is kindled by a spirit as flamingly alive as the one which gave it birth a book is dead to us. Words divested of their magic are but dead hieroglyphs.”
  • David Hare
    “Poetry is the key to the hieroglyphics of nature.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cf. F. hiéroglyphe,. See Hieroglyphic (a.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. hieroglyphikonhieros, sacred, glyphein, to carve.


In literature:

Egyptian hieroglyphics are not more comprehensible than the notes we took.
"The Iron Horse" by R.M. Ballantyne
But the old governor saw something more than the strange hieroglyphics and crooked lines and rude pencillings.
"Second Book of Tales" by Eugene Field
But in this Corinthian congregation these awful hieroglyphics are everywhere.
"The Life of St. Paul" by James Stalker
She had carried it out to the very hieroglyph.
"Patsy" by S. R. Crockett
I at once looked upon the figure of the animal as a kind of punning or hieroglyphical signature.
"The Short-story" by William Patterson Atkinson
The arts may be regarded as significant hieroglyphics of delights yet to be fulfilled in other spheres of being.
"The Continental Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 1, July, 1863" by Various
But, unfamiliar with hieroglyphics, his handiwork was lost upon her.
"St. Cuthbert's" by Robert E. Knowles
It is said that Baorias will follow one another up for fifty or even a hundred miles by means of these hieroglyphics.
"The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India" by R. V. Russell
Mr. Griffith, however, interprets it as a roll of yellow cloth ("Hieroglyphics," p. 46).
"The Evolution of the Dragon" by G. Elliot Smith
As a hieroglyphic character you signified the enemy.
""Wee Tim'rous Beasties"" by Douglas English
I 'd give a good deal to know what those hieroglyphs mean.
"The Paternoster Ruby" by Charles Edmonds Walk
The paper was literally covered with mechanical designs and hieroglyphics, involved in his latest problem.
"As It Was in the Beginning" by Philip Verrill Mighels
Egyptian, book, see Papyrus; hieroglyphics, picture writing, 81.
"The Booklover and His Books" by Harry Lyman Koopman
There are dull old Russian hieroglyphs there likewise.
"Over the Rocky Mountains to Alaska" by Charles Warren Stoddard
"Helen and Arthur" by Caroline Lee Hentz
The hieroglyphics on the piece of pasteboard were worse than Greek.
"The Albert Gate Mystery" by Louis Tracy
The signet is hung upon a swivel, and has hieroglyphics on what may be called the reverse.
"Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 455" by Various
There was the circle of chalk with the hieroglyphics round the edge.
"Masterpieces of Mystery In Four Volumes" by Various
The great Obelisk in the centre of the piazza, having no hieroglyphics, was brought from Heliopolis.
"Shepp's Photographs of the World" by James W. Shepp
These records are not written in numbers or in letters, nor yet in hieroglyphs; yet are they understandable.
"The Apple-Tree" by L. H. Bailey

In poetry:

Constellated, hieroglyphic,
Numbering each page terrific,
Fiery on the nebular black,
Flames the hurling zodiac.
"Processional" by Madison Julius Cawein
O Night and Winter! cold and gloom!
O marble mystery of the tomb!
God's hieroglyphs to man are ye;
Sealed visions of what yet shall be.
"Winter Midnight" by Lucy Larcom
Where once the hieroglyphic bark
Told when the warlike bow should twang,
The torch of light with glowing spark,
Is held aloft by faithful Strang.
"Goderich" by Thomas Frederick Young
Deep with divine tautology,
The sunset's mighty mystery
Again has traced the scroll-like west
With hieroglyphs of burning gold:
Forever new, forever old,
Its miracle is manifest.
"Sunset And Storm" by Madison Julius Cawein
Fair Nature's priestesses! to whom,
In hieroglyph of bud and bloom,
Her mysteries are told;
Who, wise in lore of wood and mead,
The seasons' pictured scrolls can read,
In lessons manifold!
"To -----" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Chair and bureau are the hieroglyphs
Of some godly utterance wakened heads ignore:
So these posed sheets, before they thin to nothing,
Speak in sign language of a lost otherworld,
A world we lose by merely waking up.
"The Ghost's Leavetaking" by Sylvia Plath

In news:

Ancient Egyptians did not speak to posterity only through hieroglyphs.
) in hieroglyphics texts and tomb scenes.
Hieroglyphic Being with Roche at the Icee Hot party, 10 pm Saturday, Aug 25.
We're never opposed to wild nails, but not everyone on the runways agreed with us this season: Instead of their dalmatian spots and mad hieroglyphics, Topshop went basic and nude.
If you're like most people, reading a plane ticket is about as easy as reading hieroglyphics.
She expertly worked with a vocabulary that included a resonant use of the upper body and a gestural language for the arms that sometimes approximated hieroglyphs.
A Q&A with hieroglyphs expert Janice Kamrin.
While doomsdayers predict the world will end on Dec 21, 2012, based on the "end date" of the Maya calendar shown in ancient hieroglyphics, experts say these inscriptions point instead to the.
Penmanship, like hieroglyphics and the IBM Selectric, has lost its purpose.
TRENTON — It might be a hieroglyph.
Neal Stephenson created the Hieroglyph Project to convince SciFi writers to stop worrying and learn to love the future.
The painted hieroglyphs and stone markings were filmed using a robot camera.
Bob's a speed bump on the road to progress By Bob Karolevitz I suppose all you computer folks think that writing my way ­ with a ball point pen and ancient typewriter ­ is not far removed from carving hieroglyphics on chunks of stone.
While scuba-diving on the Tanzania coast, Sam and Remi Fargo find a US Civil War ship's bell engraved with Aztec hieroglyphs.
Ancient Egyptians commemorated watermelons in hieroglyphics.

In science:

Cryptography appeared in the earlier human societies: Ancient Egyptians encrypted their hieroglyphic.
CRyptography and non commutative cohomology
Young, of the wave theory of light, partial decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs, and much else).
Astrophysics in 2006