Definition of petroglyph in US English:



  • A rock carving, especially a prehistoric one.

    • ‘Afterward, Wilde took us on a short hike to show us nearly thousand-year-old petroglyphs etched on boulders.’
    • ‘Among its various attractions, Wrangell has totem poles and native-carved petroglyphs that date back an estimated 8,000 years.’
    • ‘Established in 1990, this national park holds over 17,000 petroglyphs, or carvings and drawings made on rocks, some of which are over 2,000 years old.’
    • ‘In Norway, petroglyphs carved in rock by Stone Age hunters are threatened by air pollution.’
    • ‘Our guides led us into a cave with walls covered by ancient petroglyphs, including symbols still used by Aborigines today.’


Late 19th century: from petro- ‘rock’ + Greek glyphē ‘carving’.