Definition of cartouche in US English:



  • 1A carved tablet or drawing representing a scroll with rolled-up ends, used ornamentally or bearing an inscription.

    • ‘In fact, the inscriptions in the cartouches at the top of each scroll were taken from Genshin's treatise.’
    plaque, nameplate, door plate, tablet, sign, brass, medallion, plaquette
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Archaeology An oval or oblong enclosing a group of Egyptian hieroglyphs, typically representing the name and title of a monarch.
      • ‘A preliminary examination of one of the stelae revealed that it was divided into two parts, the upper section bearing the cartouche of Amenemhet III - who ruled in about 1800 BC.’
      • ‘The cartouche or oval ring enclosing the name of Tutankhamun was found on objects throughout his tomb.’
      • ‘As the son and successor of King Huni and Meresankh I, he was the first king to use the oval cartouche, as opposed to the rectangular serekh, to frame his name when it was written down.’
      • ‘But there in her sanctuary, I could still find her name inscribed in her cartouche, the ring of eternity.’
      • ‘Champollion wondered if the first hieroglyph in the cartouche, the disc, might represent the sun, and then he assumed its sound value to be that of the Coptic word for sun, ‘ra’.’


Early 17th century: from French cartouche (masculine noun), earlier cartoche, from Italian cartoccio, from carta, from Latin carta, charta (see card).