Definition of Coptic in US English:



  • The language of the Copts, which represents the final stage of ancient Egyptian. It now survives only as the liturgical language of the Coptic Church.

    • ‘We have Muslim tombstones found adjacent to ones inscribed in Greek, Old Nubian and Coptic.’
    • ‘The conceptual distance between the living and dead languages of Egypt was further increased after around 1000 AD, when Arabic replaced Coptic as the language of Egypt.’
    • ‘A neat example is found in Coptic, the latest form of the ancient Egyptian language.’
    • ‘The lingua franca of the empire was Greek although some of the empire's inhabitants spoke Latin, Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, and other local languages, but did not have national consciousness with its contemporary meaning.’
    • ‘He learnt hieroglyphics and Coptic and spent his vacations in the Louvre Museum studying its collections.’
    • ‘Through his linguistic ability, he is able to trace back Coptic to earlier forms of Egyptian writing, and beyond, all the way back to the hieroglyphs.’
    • ‘Today, Coptic is still used in church services in the United States where large congregations of Egyptian Copts are found.’
    • ‘He curated an exhibition a couple of years ago which included a letter on a potsherd in Coptic.’
    • ‘As a boy, he also taught himself to read Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Chaldean and Chinese, and he would later add Coptic, Ethiopic, Sanskrit, Zend, Pahlevi and Persian.’
    • ‘The cartouche only makes sense if the scribes spoke Coptic, because it would then be pronounced ‘Ra-meses’.’
    • ‘As the Arab Empire grew, Arabic replaced the Aramaic, Coptic, Greek, and Latin languages and became the main instrument of Arab culture.’
    • ‘Manuscripts in Greek and manuscripts of translations from the Greek into Latin, Syriac, and Coptic are extant.’
    • ‘His precocious talent was made clear when, aged 16, he addressed the Grenoble Academy of Arts and Sciences with a paper in which he suggested that Coptic was the ancient language of Egypt.’
    • ‘To a large extent these had been pushed into obscurity, but such languages as Coptic and Syriac can already be found in the later empire.’
    • ‘By the 1880s, he added to his competency in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew a working knowledge of German, French, Spanish, Italian, Gothic, Coptic, and modern Greek.’
    • ‘The Middle East churches retain distinct liturgies, which are recited in ancient Coptic, Aramaic, Syriac, or Chaldean depending upon the particular sect.’
    • ‘Later on the bible was translated into different languages Syriac, Latin, Coptic (a late form of Egyptian).’
    • ‘We have only one copy of the full text, written in Coptic about AD 350.’


  • Relating to the Copts or their language.

    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘It was not difficult to contact Gabra, and despite the fact that he was flying to the United States two days later, where he was to present a course on Coptic studies, he was enthusiastic about sharing his innovative ideas with the Weekly.’
    • ‘Among the treasures are Greek and Coptic papyri, a copy of the Gutenberg Bible, German, French, and Latin codices, and first and early editions of the works of William Shakespeare.’
    • ‘Jean-François went to high school there, reading a paper on the Coptic language before the Académie de Grenoble when he was only 16.’
    • ‘A Coptic Christian offered to show them a ford across the river.’
    • ‘The churches in both kingdoms acknowledged the Coptic patriarch as their head and he consecrated their metropolitan bishops.’
    • ‘The author also makes some helpful comparisons with the Gospel of Thomas, the collection of sayings of Jesus found in the Coptic library at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945.’
    • ‘Dedicating himself to the study of various oriental languages - including Persian, Ethiopic, Sanskrit, Zend, Pahlevi and Arabic - Champollion also began work on a dictionary and grammar of the Coptic language.’
    • ‘The fragmentary Greek sayings turned out to be closely related to sayings in the Coptic Gospel of Thomas which was discovered in 1945 among a large collection of writings known as the Nag Hammadi Library.’
    • ‘He selected seventy pieces extending from the Coptic period about 400 to 500 AD through the early Islamic period up to imported Indian printed fabrics up to about the eighteenth century.’
    • ‘According to tradition, the Nubian kings converted to Christianity either through the efforts of Coptic missionaries from Egypt or through a Byzantine missionary sent by Empress Theodora in the fourth or sixth century.’
    • ‘The name antelope is a general one which may be derived from a Coptic term which according to Burton applied originally to the mythical unicorn but now covers the wide range indicated in the preceding paragraph.’
    • ‘Kasser is an expert in Coptic, or Egyptian Christian, history and literature.’
    • ‘The manuscript written in the ancient dialect of Egypt's Coptic Christian community will be translated into English, French and German in about a year, the foundation specialising in antique culture said.’
    • ‘The Coptic bowl and flagon, with medallions of a possible saint, might have been used for the ritual washing of hands or feet.’