Definition of ostracon in English:


(also ostrakon)


  • A potsherd used as a writing surface.

    • ‘The ostraca are included, while texts from other sites in the Judean Desert will be included in a subsequent volume of the concordance.’
    • ‘Votes were written on ostraka, which were broken pots, and from this name comes our present word to ostracise.’
    • ‘He noted down on a papyrus or an ostraka a full record of the grain measured so that a definite tax liability could be determined.’
    • ‘Our earliest glimpse of Euclidean material will be the most remarkable for a thousand years, six fragmentary ostraca containing text and a figure… found on Elephantine Island in 1906/07 and 1907 / 08…’
    • ‘Sometimes writing from this period has survived on ostraca which are inscribed pottery fragments.’


Greek, ‘hard shell or potsherd’.