Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics were one of the hardest of Egypt’s mysteries to uncover! Check out our fascinating facts about hieroglyphics…

Learn about how Egyptian writing works and what it all represents, plus find out how to spell your name in hieroglyphics – cool!

Facts about hieroglyphics

Although hieroglyphics are Egyptian, the word hieroglyphics is Greek. “Hiero” means “holy” and “glyphics” means “marks” or “writings” – so the word means “holy writings“. The Egyptians believed there was great power in a name. If someone’s name was remembered then he or she would survive in the afterlife. That’s why pharaohs’ names were written in hieroglyphics in their tombs!


What do the pictures mean?

Most of the pictures can stand for the object they represent, but usually they stand for sounds. In Egyptian, the owl stands for the sound “m”. The Egyptian symbol for a mouth can mean mouth but it’s usually read as the sound “r”. You can’t exactly match our alphabet to hieroglyphics, because they are two very different languages, but historians have come up with a simplified translation of our letters and Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Hieroglyphics can be pictures of living creatures, objects used in daily life or symbols. Some are easy to identify, some confusing and some impossible! If you look at the alphabet chart, you can easily spot the foot, the hand, the lion and the owl, but why are there two different kinds of snakes?

From A to Sh, the hieroglyphic symbols are:

Hieroglyphics Uncovered

A an Egyptian vulture
B a foot
C a basket with handle
D a hand
E a reed
F a horned viper (an Egyptian snake)
G a jar-stand
H a reed shelter
I a reed
J a cobra
K the basket with the handle again (because hard “C” is like “K”)
L a lion
M an owl
N a zigzag symbol for water
O a lasso
P a square stool
Q a symbol for the slope of a hill
R a mouth
S a piece of linen folded over
T a bun
U a quail chick (which stands for the sound “U”)
V a horned viper
W a quail chick
X a basket and folded linen
Y two reeds
Z a door bolt
CH a hobble
KH a ball of string
SH the rectangle (which is the symbol for land)

Why don’t you use the hieroglyphic chart above to see if you can write your own name?

For more about the Ancient Egyptians and their hieroglyphics, check out this cool clip…

Photos: Getty Images UK
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COMMENTS

  • Zarishs

    This is the best it helped me with my project I even used it to write my own name thx guys!

  • Arsbar

    cool

  • charli

    I didn't like it very much what you said is a "reed" is a feather.

  • Person

    many wows

  • bella

    SO AWESOME! my name looked so weird when I wrote it

  • Eva

    I loved the video clips

  • isabella g

    that must of taken a long time to get all of the symbols right.

  • 193i13

    It's amazing that Egyptians made an alphabet with pictures!!!!!

  • razik

    Its amazing

  • Ezekiel

    Weird but cool!!!

  • Alyssacrooks

    I like it

  • Jason_Todd

    Nice! Very informative.

  • Billie

    Very useful for homework

  • abbieprincesspuppy

    cool beans

  • ajensen1

    I like this website.

  • ajensen1

    This website is a good source of information.

  • Fedus

    COOL

  • RANDOM123

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    amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kaya

    Smashing death mask.

  • AMIMALLUVVER

    Why is e and i the same, wouldnt people have got confused? Btw - they mustve been clever to work it out!

  • stephenie

    cooli guess it is gust grose history

  • ethan

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  • ONEDIRECTION_CHARM

    I LOVE THIS WEBSITE ALREADY HAS FACTS FOR U

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  • Burn101

    That is really cool

  • jorjor

    coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool

  • Hollypolls

    I used to have a hieroglyphic set, and it came with the symbol page. I always used it, but the ink ran out and it took too long to get a new one. Shame! I still really like this information page. It is: AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Seth123

    It helped me with my hirogliphics

  • Epickids

    This was very helpfull information for are class

  • Seth123

    So cool!

  • beast_mode

    hey guys

  • beast_mode

    this is so amazing

  • Keralina

    :)

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    it is cool :)

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    hi

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    fsdragq523g4eq

  • BATGIRL

    my name is basket lion bird mouth reed! LOL

  • fifi04

    sick-nasty

  • butter

    it didnt help that much but thanks for trying

  • ligitness

    I am ligitness

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    i like it a lot

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    yay

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    wow I love animals and history this is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Dont you guys make Aj? Ajhq national geographic kids You know? Diamond contest and Aj reporting:/

  • Eric////

  • KHizzle

    The weird but true section blew my mind

  • KHizzle

    The weird but true section blew my mind

  • Johny

    This is a bad monster

  • lol142

    I love hieroglyphics I did a PowerPoint on hieroglyphics.

  • KFC 2.0

    Fried chicken so finger licking

  • Clem

    Thanks

  • Alexandrea31

    This info sorta helped me and then it didnt but............. THIS WEBSITE IS TOTALLY HELPFUL!!!!! JUST WHAT NEEDED

  • jase

    i love your web

  • Syriah

    This helped me with my hmwk sooooooo much

  • Bidushilovesbooks

    Cool but,I already new some of the facts

  • learnerlover

    this is really helpful for my project

  • Lucy-Ann

    Wow

  • Electra

    In year 3 I learnt all about Egypt. The teachers didnt show us the sh and ch ones though. Thanks National Geographic!

  • brainy

    I like this a lot

  • ruth

    Cool this is so good im learning about egypt so it helps me alot

  • llll

    perfect for my project

  • camelGold9

    this is so cool like i learnt a lot of new hieroglyphics

  • Emily202

    so cool I am studying about egypt

  • Cool dude

    Im now going to be using hieroglyphics in my every day life

  • jessica2007

    hieromazing! Get it?hieroglyphics + amazing=hieromazing

  • xxWreckerzxx

    Very helpful For my Egypt Project

  • iop1234

    I LOVE IT

  • SuperAwesome

    Cool! Website!

  • Saybzz

    really helping me with my school project....thanks

  • analise

    i really like the hieorgiyphics

  • Baraa

    this page is helping me on my power point and poster about ancient Eygpt

  • Baraa

    i wonder what was the wealthiest pharow

  • i_like_pie

    Very cool. i am making a presintation for CC on the time line. i picked Egyptians and this web page was very helpful. wish there were more like it :,(

  • I love to play drums

    This is a cool website Im in sixth grade and it helped a little with my school project

  • Cat

    Cool huh

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    helpd with school work

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    OMG