Definition of Cyrillic in US English:



  • Denoting the alphabet used by many Slavic peoples, chiefly those with a historical allegiance to the Orthodox Church. Ultimately derived from Greek uncials, it is now used for Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and some other Slavic languages.

    • ‘Like most Slavonic languages, Macedonian is written in the Cyrillic alphabet.’
    • ‘Dining here also requires some small mastery of the Cyrillic alphabet and at least a tenuous grasp of Bulgarian, because the languages in use are Bulgarian and Turkish.’
    • ‘His writings are cited as one of the main reasons foreigners learn Russian, despite its forbidding Cyrillic alphabet and complex grammar.’
    • ‘In 1941 the Government of Mongolia adopted a phonetic alphabet derived from a modified Cyrillic script.’
    • ‘The two men had invented the Glagolithic and then the Cyrillic script, which was a mix of Greek, Latin and Hebrew letters.’
    • ‘I find it easy to recognise the difference between the other Cyrillic languages.’
    • ‘Czech is one of a group of Slavic languages that use the Roman rather than the Cyrillic alphabet.’
    • ‘Poland traditionally thinks of itself as the frontier of European civilisation, a bulwark against the east, with its Orthodox church and Cyrillic script.’
    • ‘Currently, the names of the residential areas on most of the signs are written in the Cyrillic alphabet.’
    • ‘The alphabet is made up of 33 Cyrillic characters, the last of which is a character which does not stand alone but follows various consonants to soften the sound.’
    • ‘Serbian uses a Cyrillic alphabet, while Croatian uses a Latin alphabet.’
    • ‘The stopping times and places are in the carriage and despite Russian's Cyrillic script, it's easy to guess where you are and how long you'll stop there.’
    • ‘I concluded that the Cyrillic alphabet and Bulgarian language were valued and respected cultural assets of the country.’
    • ‘The national language is Bulgarian, a South Slavic language of the Indo-European language family, which uses the Cyrillic script.’
    • ‘Khalkha Mongolian may be written in traditional Uighur or Cyrillic script.’
    • ‘I had studied Russian in college, so it was my job to recognize the Cyrillic alphabet, which Bulgarian, a Slavic language very close to Russian, employs.’
    • ‘Christian missionaries, Cyril and Methodius, propagated the Christian faith and the Cyrillic alphabet.’
    • ‘A small pile of Russian-made shipping flares, covered in Cyrillic script, had been used and discarded in one corner.’
    • ‘She also discovered that Bulgarians use the Cyrillic alphabet, but, apart from that, had no idea what to expect when she stepped off the plane onto Bulgarian soil for the first time in July this year.’
    • ‘These non-Slavic influences are reflected in the Slovene language, which is written in the Latin alphabet, while most Slavic languages use the Cyrillic alphabet.’
    • ‘According to a French artist currently exhibiting his works in Bulgaria, the Cyrillic alphabet is actually more artistic than its Western relation.’


  • The Cyrillic alphabet.

    • ‘The main body of modern Azeri literature and educational material is still in Cyrillic, and the transition to the Latin alphabet is a time-consuming and expensive process.’
    • ‘I lifted myself up onto the stool and looked through the plate glass window, past writing in Cyrillic and Arabic, to the never-ceasing crush of pedestrians outside.’
    • ‘In Moldova, the Soviet authorities changed the alphabet from Latin to Cyrillic.’
    • ‘An indefinite grasp of Cyrillic and a reluctance to leave home are not the best qualifications for a poet travelling to Bulgaria.’
    • ‘We have the Greek alphabet, most of the Slavic countries write in Cyrillic, the Arabs read their newspapers in their own script, and so on.’
    • ‘The bell pushes made in Moscow do not bear individual workmasters' marks, only the imperial warrant mark and the Faberge name in Cyrillic, or merely Faberge's initials if space was limited.’
    • ‘All of the various patterns of the Model 1891 Three-Line Rifle were marked with the name of the manufacturer in Cyrillic on top of the barrel, between the hexagonal receiver and the rear sight base.’
    • ‘Cyril and Methodius also translated many principal Christian doctrines into Cyrillic for the first time.’
    • ‘Chatellerault produced rifles can be distinguished by the French arsenal name, in Cyrillic, along with a C inside a circle on top of the barrel.’
    • ‘There was the mausoleum, with LENIN spelled out over the door in red, the first word I'd learned to read in Cyrillic.’
    • ‘Everyone is speaking Russian, the women wear voluminous coats and many of the shops operate under signs written in Cyrillic.’
    • ‘They're based in Brisbane, but their website - for discount cell phones - is written mostly in Cyrillic.’
    • ‘Names from languages written with different alphabet characters, such as Cyrillic, Hebrew, and Greek, are transliterated with Roman characters.’
    • ‘My only other caveat concerns the librettos: the Russian texts are given in Cyrillic, which is not helpful to those who do not read Russian.’
    • ‘In my hand I have a map, with notes in Cyrillic, which I can't read.’
    • ‘The switch to Cyrillic in Central Asia was largely completed by 1940.’
    • ‘Instead of burdening the reader with extended passages of transliterated Cyrillic, I have translated the title and all quotations from Mnatsakanova's article directly into English.’
    • ‘As the Soviet Union gained influence through the end of the 1930s, multiple variants of Cyrillic took the place of the unified Latin script.’


Early 19th century: named after St Cyril (see Cyril, St).