Definition of ostracon in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈästrəˌkän/
(also ostrakon)

noun (plural ostraca /-kə/ or ostracon)

A potsherd used as a writing surface.
Example sentences
  • He noted down on a papyrus or an ostraka a full record of the grain measured so that a definite tax liability could be determined.
  • Our earliest glimpse of Euclidean material will be the most remarkable for a thousand years, six fragmentary ostraca containing text and a figure… found on Elephantine Island in 1906/07 and 1907 / 08…
  • Sometimes writing from this period has survived on ostraca which are inscribed pottery fragments.


Greek, 'hard shell or potsherd'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: os·tra·con

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.