Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics Alphabet

The hieroglyphic system of writing was complex and very labor intensive. The first hieroglyphics were used on buildings and tombs and it is believed that the Egyptians first began developing this system of writing around 3000 BC. In the following list you'll find some examples of hieroglyphics. These are the basic symbols the ancient Egyptians used in their writing, but there are many more.

Hieroglyph Symbol Meaning
Alphabet A Vulture Represents the Egyptian Vulture
Alphabet B Foot Human foot and lower leg
Alphabet D Hand Word for hand, actions or actions that are performed

Also used in iconography
Alphabet E or I (Flowering) Reed Ideogram, alphabetic uniliteral (consisting of one letter only) vowel 'i'
Alphabet F or V Viper Horned viper

(Hieroglyphic) Possessive pronoun - his, hers or its; written after the noun it refers to
Alphabet G Jar Stand Side view of a jar stand and base

Often used in reliefs for Amun (named the Lord of the Thrones of Egypt by using a plural of the jar stand hieroglyph, to reference the religious sites used by ancient Egyptians)
Alphabet H1 Reed Shelter Plan view of a reed shelter or enclosure

Egyptian uniliteral sign 'h'
Alphabet H2 Wick Wick of a lamp

Second uniliteral 'h'
Alphabet J Cobra Cobra at rest

Used in iconography to describe the pharaoh as 'given life, power, dominion, Ra-like, forever'
Alphabet K or X (Wicker) Basket with handle Iconographic portrayals with crossed lines or blocks of various colors
Alphabet L Lion reclining Sphinx, or reclining lion
Alphabet M Owl Owl, uniliteral 'm'
Alphabet N Ripple of water One of the oldest ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs; one of the earliest findings was on a cartouche of Pharaoh Den of the First Dynasty

Mostly used as a preposition - main forms: 'in', 'to', or 'by'
Alphabet N2 Red Crown Vertical alternative to the horizontal N

The Deshret Crown, one of the oldest hieroglyphs, used to symbolist the 'Red Crown of the Delta' (Lower Egypt)

Famously used on the Narmer Palette, of Pharaoh Narmer
Alphabet P Mat or stool (later) hieroglyph Originally the stool's rectangular mat, later becoming a representation of the stool
Alphabet Q Hill Slope
Alphabet R Mouth Implies use for speech

Also used in the representation of unit fractions
Alphabet S Door bolt Horizontal symbol 's'

Sliding form of deadbolt
Alphabet S2 Folded Cloth Vertical alternative to 's' symbol

Type of cushioning, or seat backing
Alphabet T Bread Bun Shaped as a semicircle, used as the alphabetic 't', feminine words or before other determinants or qualifying ideograms
Alphabet W Quail chick Also representing the alphabetic 'u'.

Used often in its plural form, as determinative or in important sections of phrases
Alphabet W1 Coil Hieratic equivalent to the quail chick hieroglyph (above)
Alphabet Y Reeds
Alphabet Kh Sieve Shape of a circular sieve

Also representing placenta
Alphabet Sh Pool/Basin Also seen as the lake hieroglyph

Hieroglyphic Numbers
One Two Three
Four Five Six
Seven Eight Nine
Ten Hundred Thousand
Ten Thousand Hundred Thousand Million