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A hieroglyph is one part of an ideographic writing system that is often found carved in stone.

Hieroglyphs are regarded as sacred characters to many and are used in what at one time was called "picture writing". Examples of hieroglyphs can be found on buildings of the ancient Egyptians, Maya civilization and Aztecs. Hieroglyphs are made up of three, or, as some say, four classes of characters: first, the hieroglyphic proper, or figurative, in which the representation of the object conveys the idea of the object itself; second, the ideographic, consisting of symbols representing ideas, not sounds, as an ostrich feather is a symbol of truth; third, the phonetic, consisting of symbols employed as syllables of a word, or as letters of the alphabet, having a certain sound, as a hawk represented the vowel.

Specific uses of this term include: