Definition of pictograph in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɪktəɡrɑːf/
(also pictogram /ˈpɪktəɡram/)


1A pictorial symbol for a word or phrase. Pictographs were used as the earliest known form of writing, examples having been discovered in Egypt and Mesopotamia from before 3000 bc: an ancient pictograph of the Great Goddess
More example sentences
  • However, the main reason for the difference between Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Sumerian pictograms came from the difference in the writing materials used by the two ancient civilizations.
  • The exhibition provides a history of writing: pictogram, hieroglyph, cuneiform, alphabet, all of these are represented.
  • The round harp is the classic string instrument of the earliest period in both regions; indeed, the earliest examples of Mesopotamian writing show a pictogram of a round harp.
1.1A pictorial representation of statistics on a chart, graph, or computer screen.
Example sentences
  • Pictographs should be used carefully because the graphs may, either accidentally or deliberately, misrepresent the data.
  • A pictograph is used to present statistics in a popular yet less statistical way to those who are not familiar with charts that contain numerical scales.
  • So is there any problem with the depiction of statistics in the pictograph?



Pronunciation: /ˌpɪktəˈɡrafɪk/
Example sentences
  • In a world now dominated by alphabetic languages, Chinese, based on characters, remains a pictographic tongue.
  • Egyptian writing began as pictographic and was later combined with sound signs to produce a difficult and complicated script that the Greeks called hieroglyphics.
  • Previously, scholars had believed that Maya writing was either pictographic or ideographic and had not ‘advanced’ to representing phonetic elements of any kind.


Pronunciation: /pɪkˈtɒɡrəfi/
Example sentences
  • Artwork, especially as pictography, provided traditional people the means of conveying history, myths, and stories through successive generations.
  • Chinese writing originated, as all writing did, in what is commonly called pictography, that is, in the drawing of simple pictures to represent the word for the object in question.
  • Pictography is a form of writing whereby ideas are transmitted through drawing. It is the basis of cuneiform and hieroglyphs.


Mid 19th century: from Latin pict- 'painted' (from the verb pingere) + -graph.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: picto|graph

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