hieroglyphic

If your written language consists of pictures rather than letters and words, your written communication would be hieroglyphic in nature. Ancient Egyptian writing was hieroglyphic.

The pictures that make up hieroglyphic language are called hieroglyphs. The word descended from the Greek hierogluphikos which could be translated to mean "sacred carvings." Back when written communication was literally carved in stone, most of what was written was important, or "sacred." Today if someone describes your handwriting as hieroglyphic, they mean something quite different - your writing is awful and illegible.

Definitions of hieroglyphic
  1. noun
    a writing system using picture symbols; used in ancient Egypt
    synonyms: hieroglyph
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    types:
    hieratic, hieratic script
    a cursive form of Egyptian hieroglyphics; used especially by the priests
    Demotic, Demotic script
    a simplified cursive form of the ancient hieratic script
    type of:
    orthography, writing system
    a method of representing the sounds of a language by written or printed symbols
  2. noun
    writing that resembles hieroglyphics (usually by being illegible)
    synonyms: hieroglyph
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    type of:
    writing
    letters or symbols that are written or imprinted on a surface to represent the sounds or words of a language
  3. adjective
    written in or belonging to a writing system using pictorial symbols
    synonyms: hieroglyphical
  4. adjective
    resembling hieroglyphic writing
    synonyms: hieroglyphical
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