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hieroglyphic symbol, pictorial symbol which represents a word or sound (used in the pictographic script of the ancient Egyptians)
picture used to represent a word or idea; symbol that conveys an idea nonverbally
\hi"er*o*glyph\ (?), hieroglyphic \hi`er*o*glyph"ic\ (?), ] n. [cf. f. hiéroglyphe. see hieroglyphic, a.]
1. a sacred character; a character 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.
2. any character or figure which has, or is supposed to have, a hidden or mysterious significance; hence, any unintelligible or illegible character or mark. [colloq.] [
A hieroglyph (Greek for "sacred carving") is a character of the ancient Egyptian writing system. Partially pictographic logographic scripts reminiscent of ancient Egyptian are also sometimes called "hieroglyphs". In Neoplatonism, especially of the Renaissance, a hieroglyph was an artistic representation of an esoteric idea, which actual Egyptian hieroglyphs seemed to the Neoplatonists to be. The word hieroglyphics may refer to writings in a hieroglyphic system.
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1. writing that resembles hieroglyphics (usually by being illegible)
2. a writing system using picture symbols; used in ancient Egypt
(hypernym) orthography, writing system
(hyponym) hieratic, hieratic script
Alt. of Hieroglyphic
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