HIEROGLYPH'IC, n. [Gr. sacred, and to carve.]

1. In antiquity, a sacred character; a mystical character or symbol, used in writings and inscriptions, particularly by the Egyptians, as signs of sacred, divine, or supernatural things. The hieroglyphics were figures of animals, parts of the human body, mechanical instruments, &c., which contained a meaning known only to kings and priests. It is supposed they were used to vail morality, politics, &c., from vulgar eves.

2. Pictures intended to express historical facts; supposed to be the primitive mode of writing.

3. The art of writing in picture.