One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A written character symbolizing the idea of a thing without indicating the sounds used to say it, e.g., numerals and Chinese characters.
symbol, mark, cipher, letter, character, numeral, figure, type, code, hieroglyphView synonyms
- ‘While it is possible that the Egyptians borrowed the idea for ideograms and phonograms from the Sumerians, many experts think that would be very unlikely.’
- ‘Early written characters were based on pictograms and ideograms; it is commonly believed that pictograms appeared before ideograms.’
- ‘With tens of thousands of Japanese characters - or kanji, based on Chinese ideograms - to choose from, the possibilities would seem limitless.’
- ‘Mankind is coming back a full circle - from ideograms through alphabet to ideograms.’
- ‘Perhaps there is a sound that goes with the symbol, as with Chinese ideograms; maybe there are multiple sounds also with Chinese ideograms as they are rendered orally in diverse dialects.’
Mid 19th century: from Greek idea ‘form’ + -gram.
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