Hieroglyph, a character used in a system of pictorial writing, particularly that form used on ancient Egyptian monuments. Hieroglyphic symbols may represent the objects that they depict but usually stand for particular sounds or groups of sounds. Hieroglyph, meaning “sacred carving,” is a Greek translation of the Egyptian phrase “the god’s words,” which was used at the time of the early Greek contacts with Egypt to distinguish the older hieroglyphs from the handwriting of the day (demotic). Modern usage has extended the term to other writing systems, such as Hieroglyphic Hittite, Mayan hieroglyphs, and early Cretan. There is no connection between Egyptian hieroglyphs and these other scripts, the only certain derivative from the Egyptian writing being that used for Meroitic.