A written character symbolizing the idea of a thing without indicating the sounds used to say it, e.g., numerals and Chinese characters.
- Perhaps there is a sound that goes with the symbol, as with Chinese ideograms; maybe there are multiple sounds also with Chinese ideograms as they are rendered orally in diverse dialects.
- With tens of thousands of Japanese characters - or kanji, based on Chinese ideograms - to choose from, the possibilities would seem limitless.
- Early written characters were based on pictograms and ideograms; it is commonly believed that pictograms appeared before ideograms.
Mid 19th century: from Greek idea 'form' + -gram1.
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