Definition of inscription in English:



  • 1Words inscribed, as on a monument or in a book.

    ‘the inscription on her headstone’
    • ‘His work on transcribing tombstone inscriptions was highly valued by students of history and genealogy.’
    • ‘She has devoted half of her lifetime to the study of inscriptions.’
    • ‘But the inscriptions written in ink or embroidered on the bags suggest they may have been used for another purpose.’
    • ‘You got the essays back covered in brutal red inscriptions.’
    • ‘The remains of the six were placed in one coffin that had been brightly painted in medieval style and bearing Latin inscriptions.’
    • ‘They are unreadable inscriptions, and as such convey the permanence and provisionality of all inscription.’
    • ‘They were engraved with inscriptions, and often buried with the dead.’
    • ‘Items feature Hebrew letters or inscriptions either associated with religious customs or used as ceremonial objects.’
    • ‘The more temporary Greeks left gymnasia, statues, temples and inscriptions as far east as Afghanistan.’
    • ‘The main gate and the watchtower still stand with their ironwork inscriptions, ‘Each to his own’.’
    • ‘The lowest tier is decorated with royal heraldry and with open books, presumably once with painted inscriptions.’
    • ‘These inscriptions are not just in another language, they do not seem to offer names or dates at all.’
    • ‘The history of the Main will be noted by sidewalk inscriptions of the year of construction of each building.’
    • ‘Below it, all over the superbly manicured gardens on the slopes, are memorials and stirring inscriptions.’
    • ‘The images, figures and inscriptions in traditional public art claimed to represent something common to everybody.’
    • ‘The inscriptions on the dials of the clock tower were no longer legible.’
    • ‘It's typical of Hellenistic inscriptions, you see, the letter forms.’
    • ‘They control everything from the type and size of vases to the inscriptions on the headstones.’
    • ‘The excavations haven't found any such images or identifying inscriptions.’
    • ‘It was named that because the inscriptions on the headstones were in a Cyrillic script.’
    engraving, wording, writing, lettering, legend, epitaph, epigraph, etching, carving
    dedication, address, message
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The action of inscribing something.
      ‘the inscription of memorable utterances on durable materials’
      • ‘His research interests include gender studies and the body as a site for cultural inscription.’
      • ‘Here the spoken material of language becomes the working object of scientific inscription.’
      • ‘Further, he points out, long messages are handled more efficiently by inscription.’
      • ‘The stone surfaces of the memorial are the ground for its other key gesture: the clever use of inscription.’
      • ‘These techniques can be distinguished from those in which the body itself is an immediate object of elaboration and inscription.’
      • ‘Thus the process of inscription becomes a self-reflexive activity.’
      • ‘Something has been knifed inside me, and I do not want to lose the external sign of that inscription.’
      • ‘Identification was by inscription, heraldry and, later, a rebus.’
      • ‘I set my cup aside for personal inscription the next time he comes through town, and that got me to thinking.’
      • ‘There's a barely controlled abandon, and more than a hint of anxiety that once the act of inscription has begun, it can't be undone.’
      • ‘It is exactly about the stipulation that warrants inscription of the numbers and letters in black against a white backdrop.’


Late Middle English (denoting a short descriptive or dedicatory passage at the beginning of a book): from Latin inscriptio(n-), from the verb inscribere (see inscribe).