hieratic Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a cursive form of Egyptian hieroglyphics; used especially by the priests
    hieratic script.
  2. adjective associated with the priesthood or priests
    priestly; hieratical; sacerdotal.
    • priestly (or sacerdotal) vestments
    • hieratic gestures
  3. adjective written or belonging to a cursive form of ancient Egyptian writing
    • hieratic Egyptian script
  4. adjective satellite adhering to fixed types or methods; highly restrained and formal
    • the more hieratic sculptures leave the viewer curiously unmoved


Hi`er*at"ic adjective
L. hieraticus, Gr. akin to sacred: cf. F. hiératique.
  1. Consecrated to sacred uses; sacerdotal; pertaining to priests.
    It was a false notion of the Greeks that of the three kinds of writing used by the Egyptians, two -- for that reason called hieroglyphic and hieratic -- were employed only for sacred, while the third, the demotic, was employed for secular, purposes. No such distinction is discoverable on the more ancient Egyptian monuments; bur we retain the old names founded on misapprehension. W. H. Ward (Johnson's Cyc.).

Webster 1913