Definition of hieratic in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌhī(ə)ˈradik/


1Of or concerning priests: he raised both his arms in an outlandish hieratic gesture
More example sentences
  • The Eucharist in particular was transformed from a celebration whose origins in a shared meal were still recognizable into a hieratic pageant at which the laity were increasingly spectators rather than active participants.
  • A related influence on liturgical ceremonial was imperial court practice, contributing still more to the transformation of the Eucharistic liturgy from common meal to hieratic pageant.
1.1Of or in the ancient Egyptian writing of abridged hieroglyphics used by priests. Compare with demotic.
Example sentences
  • Hieroglyphs for writing and counting gave way to a hieratic script for both writing and numerals.
  • Like the hieroglyphs, the hieratic symbols changed over time but they underwent more changes with six distinct periods.
  • Then, in 1785, Charles Joseph de Guignes suggested that the three known Egyptian scripts (hieroglyphic, the early cursive script hieratic, and demotic) were connected.
1.2Of or concerning Egyptian or Greek styles of art adhering to early methods as laid down by religious tradition.
Example sentences
  • This trend led into the hieratic style of early Christian art, where pictorial illusion was less important than putting over clear messages.
  • They seem to speak for a civilization, not just an artist, much like the stone heads on Easter Island or the hieratic statuary of Egyptian art.
  • Carved on four sides with reliefs depicting members of the imperial house in attendance at the circus games, the base embodies the abstract, hieratic form that had become the norm in official works of art by the end of the fourth century.



Pronunciation: /-ik(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • In contrast, the ‘Last Judgment’ is organized hieratically in three tiers, with the scale of the figures manipulated to indicate their relative importance.
  • Whereas Elizabeth is depicted iconically, hieratically, without motion and almost without bodily solidity, Philip is confident enough to appear as a flesh-and-blood human being.
  • The various salient features of traditional Maronite Chants prove them to be, after all is said and done, a communal liturgical form of singing, austerely and hieratically monastic in cast, generally calm in character, mderate in tempo, simple in demeanour and straightforward in structure.


Mid 17th century (earlier as hieratical): via Latin from Greek hieratikos, from hierasthai 'be a priest', from hiereus 'priest', hieros 'sacred'.

Words that rhyme with hieratic

achromatic, acrobatic, Adriatic, aerobatic, anagrammatic, aquatic, aristocratic, aromatic, asthmatic, athematic, attic, autocratic, automatic, axiomatic, bureaucratic, charismatic, chromatic, cinematic, climatic, dalmatic, democratic, diagrammatic, diaphragmatic, diplomatic, dogmatic, dramatic, ecstatic, emblematic, emphatic, enigmatic, epigrammatic, erratic, fanatic, hepatic, hydrostatic, hypostatic, idiomatic, idiosyncratic, isochromatic, lymphatic, melodramatic, meritocratic, miasmatic, monochromatic, monocratic, monogrammatic, numismatic, operatic, panchromatic, pancreatic, paradigmatic, phlegmatic, photostatic, piratic, plutocratic, pneumatic, polychromatic, pragmatic, prelatic, prismatic, problematic, programmatic, psychosomatic, quadratic, rheumatic, schematic, schismatic, sciatic, semi-automatic, Socratic, somatic, static, stigmatic, sub-aquatic, sylvatic, symptomatic, systematic, technocratic, thematic, theocratic, thermostatic, traumatic

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hi·er·at·ic

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