Definition of inscribe in English:



  • 1Write or carve (words or symbols) on something, especially as a formal or permanent record.

    ‘his name was inscribed on the new silver trophy’
    • ‘It can be traced way back to ancient Greece, when the words ‘medicine for the soul’ were inscribed over the door to the library at Thebes.’
    • ‘I will remember him as a friend who was undaunted, defiant and unrepentant which words we inscribed on his coffin in the early hours of Saturday morning last as we bid him a final farewell.’
    • ‘Soon the other boys got the idea and insulting words were soon inscribed on the walls.’
    • ‘The figure six is inscribed backwards while the words and letters are separated by diamonds and hearts.’
    • ‘I opened the locket, with three words inscribed on the inside.’
    • ‘The lad carried the precious words that God inscribed on stone tablets to Ethiopia and today they reside in a little church in the ancient city of Axum.’
    • ‘Jensom led them all into a bright room, filled with monks inscribing words of wisdom onto tablets and papyrus.’
    • ‘Those infamous words were inscribed on the War Room walls.’
    • ‘To write properly I would need to know which picture to draw and which sounds from the spoken word to inscribe next to it.’
    • ‘It was engraved with my name and said, ‘First prize for excellence in English’ Under those words were inscribed the date it was won.’
    • ‘Those are the words inscribed in the entry way of a veterans administration hospital I once visited in my youth.’
    • ‘However, she said she did not agree with other relatives of asbestos victims who called recently for the arch to be turned into such a memorial, for example by inscribing the names of victims on it.’
    • ‘Those words are inscribed on a Memorial Marker at the place he was shot on the border of Hyde Park.’
    • ‘We must inscribe those words alongside some of today's political utterances.’
    • ‘He inscribed the word ‘boring’ across his recently written notes.’
    • ‘These words, later inscribed on the same rock where he unloaded the box, can be seen even today.’
    • ‘On their leaves he has inscribed words from Scottish ghost stories.’
    • ‘A golden band encircled it, decked with bells like all the rest of his outfit, and words were inscribed upon it.’
    • ‘Perhaps, the word is inscribed in English so that a cross-section of tourists would understand it.’
    • ‘These were one liners written by groups of five poets who would each secretly inscribe a word on a slip of paper.’
    carve, write, engrave, etch, cut, chisel, chase, score, incise
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Mark (an object) with characters.
      ‘the memorial is inscribed with ten names’
      ‘an inscribed watch’
      • ‘Everything - from its ads to its shopping bags - is inscribed with its ‘sweatshop-free’ tag line.’
      • ‘He describes the frame's edges being inscribed with Japanese characters and expresses the wish to translate them.’
      • ‘Not that she noticed, with her head turned down to the tiled floor, the entire surface inscribed with ancient runes by people long since dead.’
      • ‘It has a face on top, which is inscribed with the letters West Point and the date of graduation.’
      • ‘The envelope in her hand is inscribed with a man's name and address, suggesting a romantic element.’
      • ‘She carried a staff that was inscribed with symbols and what looks like carved patterns of vines, at the top rest a pearl.’
      • ‘The dark walls were inscribed with some ancient prayer.’
      • ‘The five-foot tall bronze-cast structure, which is inscribed with the victims' names, will be unveiled at the accident site.’
      • ‘Sited on the path to Suilven, his favourite mountain, it is made of sandstone and has a bronze plaque that's inscribed with one of his best-loved poems, Climbing Suilven.’
      • ‘Many of these are inscribed with the sayings of ancient emperors, famous poets and scholars.’
      • ‘Its piercing steel blade is decoratively inscribed with intricate patterns with a crown at its summit.’
      • ‘A single gravestone from this period may be inscribed with epitaphs that belong to as many as seven different individuals, though whether or not the grave contained seven bodies is unknown.’
      • ‘The base for the structure, which is inscribed with ‘Lest we Forget’ was installed in 2001 and has been a focal point of the past two Remembrance Day ceremonies.’
      • ‘Three tall memorial archways inscribed with Chinese characters stand outside the temple.’
      • ‘The silver bowl burner is also inscribed with the Special Olympics Logo.’
      • ‘The watches are inscribed with serial numbers.’
      • ‘Each capsule was inscribed with the person's name and a personal message.’
      • ‘He made drawings with sophisticated perspectival schemes that are inscribed with the hour and day they were made, and concentrate on innumerable subtleties of variation in colour and tone.’
      • ‘Thousands of bones and tortoise shells were discovered there which had been inscribed with ancient Chinese characters.’
      • ‘The wallpaper-covered box of about 1830 is inscribed with a schedule for setting out glass eggs to stimulate ducks, chickens, and turkeys to lay.’
      carve, write, engrave, etch, cut, chisel, chase, score, incise
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Write an informal dedication to someone in or on (a book)
      ‘he inscribed the first copy “To my dearest grandmother.”’
      • ‘Before he rushed off, he asked us to inscribe copies of our books for him.’
      • ‘The book is inscribed at the front as belonging to a Mrs Janet Maule and is dated 25 June, 1701, although recipes have been added over a number of years.’
      • ‘Unlike the other three copies, these are inscribed.’
      • ‘Mailer, disappointed to find that Buckley had apparently neglected to inscribe the book, promptly flipped through the index to see whether he had been mentioned.’
      • ‘And our prize books were duly inscribed copies of the following three.’
      • ‘He kindly gave the Diary an inscribed copy of his book of poems, Soldiers Of The Sea, some time ago.’
      • ‘He also gets £50 and a personally inscribed copy of my autobiography.’
      • ‘Then, ‘With best wishes from one Celt to another’ he inscribed my copy of ‘Colossus’.’
      • ‘I inscribed it, ‘To Lance, A little book about cycling and friendship’.’
      • ‘My only concern is that Timmy sent me an inscribed book that said, ‘I love you, dude.’’
      • ‘Yesterday a package arrived in the mail: Hugh's book, from Hugh, fresh from the printer and inscribed by the author.’
      • ‘She wrote back saying how touched she was, and how glad that I liked her work, and that I was welcome to send my books along for her to personally inscribe, and that she'd try to take a look at the book.’
      • ‘You once gave me a large coffee table book; it was an Encyclopedia of Vampires, inscribed: ‘To Barry from his personal bloodsucker’.’
      • ‘Instead of the traditional wedding gifts Rachel and Matthew asked their guests to donate a book which had touched that guest's life and inscribe it with a special message.’
      • ‘Donors to Friends of Hillary receive gifts ranging from a bookmark to a personally inscribed limited edition of the book.’
      dedicate, address, name, sign
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3archaic Enter the name of (someone) on a list or in a book; enroll.
      • ‘‘We inscribe them in the book of the saints, and establish that in all the church they be devoutly honoured among the saints,’ the Pope said in Spanish.’
      • ‘Our names will be inscribed in the books of ages!’
      • ‘Of course, we wish to be inscribed in the book of life, but it should be a life that we wish to be in rather than one that we seek to escape from.’
      • ‘Their names were inscribed in the book of enrolment.’
      • ‘During the Rosh Hashana prayers, we cry out to be inscribed in the book of Life.’
  • 2Geometry
    Draw (a figure) within another so that their boundaries touch but do not intersect.

    ‘a regular polygon inscribed in a circle’
    Compare with circumscribe
    • ‘Ptolemy calculated chords by first inscribing regular polygons of 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 sides in a circle.’
    • ‘The final part shows how each of the five regular polyhedra can be inscribed in a sphere.’
    • ‘It involves the solution of polygons given certain sides and angles between them, their mensuration, division by diagonals, circumscribing polygons around circles and inscribing polygons in circles.’
    • ‘This he obtained by circumscribing and inscribing a circle with regular polygons having 96 sides.’
    • ‘By contrast, when I examine what figures can be inscribed in a circle, it is in no way necessary for me to think that this class includes all quadrilaterals.’


Late Middle English: from Latin inscribere, from in- into + scribere write.