2. Writing that resembles ancient writing; usually by being illegible: Eve's handwriting has often been described as looking like hieroglyphics.
3. Something written in or belonging to a writing system using pictorial symbols: On the cliffs near Peterborough, Canada, are hieroglyphics and pictographs telling the history of the aboriginal people who lived in the area.
4. Etymology: from Late Latin hieroglyphicus, from Greek hieroglyphikos, from hieros, "sacred, powerful" + glyphe, glyphikos, "carving" from glyphein, "to carve".
The ancient Egyptians wrote in hieroglyphs that were not deciphered until after the discovery in 1799 of the Rosetta Stone, which bears the same inscription in three different scripts: hieratic Egyptian (formal), demotic Egyptian (cursive), and ancient Greek.