Definition of inscription in English:



  • 1A thing inscribed, as on a monument or in a book.

    ‘the inscription on her headstone’
    • ‘The excavations haven't found any such images or identifying inscriptions.’
    • ‘She has devoted half of her lifetime to the study of inscriptions.’
    • ‘It's typical of Hellenistic inscriptions, you see, the letter forms.’
    • ‘They are unreadable inscriptions, and as such convey the permanence and provisionality of all inscription.’
    • ‘The history of the Main will be noted by sidewalk inscriptions of the year of construction of each building.’
    • ‘The images, figures and inscriptions in traditional public art claimed to represent something common to everybody.’
    • ‘Items feature Hebrew letters or inscriptions either associated with religious customs or used as ceremonial objects.’
    • ‘But the inscriptions written in ink or embroidered on the bags suggest they may have been used for another purpose.’
    • ‘His work on transcribing tombstone inscriptions was highly valued by students of history and genealogy.’
    • ‘The more temporary Greeks left gymnasia, statues, temples and inscriptions as far east as Afghanistan.’
    • ‘They were engraved with inscriptions, and often buried with the dead.’
    • ‘Below it, all over the superbly manicured gardens on the slopes, are memorials and stirring inscriptions.’
    • ‘The inscriptions on the dials of the clock tower were no longer legible.’
    • ‘They control everything from the type and size of vases to the inscriptions on the headstones.’
    • ‘The main gate and the watchtower still stand with their ironwork inscriptions, ‘Each to his own’.’
    • ‘You got the essays back covered in brutal red inscriptions.’
    • ‘These inscriptions are not just in another language, they do not seem to offer names or dates at all.’
    • ‘The remains of the six were placed in one coffin that had been brightly painted in medieval style and bearing Latin inscriptions.’
    • ‘It was named that because the inscriptions on the headstones were in a Cyrillic script.’
    • ‘The lowest tier is decorated with royal heraldry and with open books, presumably once with painted inscriptions.’
    engraving, wording, writing, lettering, legend, epitaph, epigraph, etching, carving
    dedication, address, message
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[mass noun]The action of inscribing something.
      ‘the inscription of memorable utterances on durable materials’
      • ‘Identification was by inscription, heraldry and, later, a rebus.’
      • ‘Further, he points out, long messages are handled more efficiently by inscription.’
      • ‘Something has been knifed inside me, and I do not want to lose the external sign of that inscription.’
      • ‘Thus the process of inscription becomes a self-reflexive activity.’
      • ‘The stone surfaces of the memorial are the ground for its other key gesture: the clever use of inscription.’
      • ‘Here the spoken material of language becomes the working object of scientific inscription.’
      • ‘I set my cup aside for personal inscription the next time he comes through town, and that got me to thinking.’
      • ‘These techniques can be distinguished from those in which the body itself is an immediate object of elaboration and inscription.’
      • ‘It is exactly about the stipulation that warrants inscription of the numbers and letters in black against a white backdrop.’
      • ‘His research interests include gender studies and the body as a site for cultural inscription.’
      • ‘There's a barely controlled abandon, and more than a hint of anxiety that once the act of inscription has begun, it can't be undone.’


Late Middle English (denoting a short descriptive or dedicatory passage at the beginning of a book): from Latin inscriptio(n-), from the verb inscribere (see inscribe).