- a picture or symbol representing a word, syllable, or sound, used by the ancient Egyptians and others instead of alphabetical letters
- a symbol, sign, etc. that is hard to understand
Origin of hieroglyphback-formation from hieroglyphic
- A picture or symbol used in hieroglyphic writing.
- Something that suggests a hieroglyph.
First attested around 1598, a back-formation from hieroglyphic, from Middle French hiéroglyphique, from Late Latin hieroglyphicus, from Ancient Greek ἱερογλυφικός (hieroglyphikós), derivative of ἱερογλυφη (hieroglyphē, “hieroglyphs”), compound of ἱερός (hierós, “sacred, holy”) and γλύφη (glyphē, “carved work”), a translation of Ancient Egyptian
mdw-nṯr (medu-netjer) "god's words".