We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Some Common Egyptian Symbols?

Jessica Ellis
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Egyptian symbols are a fascinating window into a unique ancient culture. Found on the many artifacts recovered from the ancient Egyptian empires, these symbols form a language and descriptive picture of one of the oldest human civilizations. Being able to identify common Egyptian symbols is a must for any Egypt enthusiast, and can give great depth to your body of knowledge about history and culture.

One of the most frequently seen Egyptian symbols is the Eye of Horus, also called the Eye of Ra. This symbol, which resembles a human eye, can mean many things depending on the context used. It is symbolic for the all-seeing eye of the gods, and may also symbolize rebirth. The Eye of Ra was also extremely important in ancient Egyptian mathematics, as it was used to describe or indicate different fractions.

Many Egyptian symbols are also called logograms or pictograms. These signs are meant to look like the thing they are describing. The symbol for the sun is a circle above a straight line, while the symbol for mountains looks like two jagged peaks next to one another.

Other common Egyptian symbols have a meaning only somewhat related to the actual character. These characters are called metonymic and are basically used much like a figure of speech or metaphor in modern language. For instance, one symbol for the word God looks like a flag. This may seem nonsensical until you know that the flag is meant to represent the flags that were flown on religious temples of the era.

One frequently seen symbol looks like an owl or bird drawn in profile, with head facing front. This interesting glyph has a variety of meanings, and was frequently used as a preposition, such as by, with, or from. Because of this symbol’s versatility, its specific meaning is often derived in context of the surrounding words.

Another extremely commonplace Egyptian symbol is the ankh. This glyph looks like a cross with an egg-shaped top, and is the symbol for eternal life. Some Egyptian artifacts depict various gods holding the ankh to a person’s mouth or giving it to them, believed to symbolize a life that continues past death. The ankh is often used in jewelry and replica Egyptian art.

For those wishing to learn more about the translation and interpretation of Egyptian symbols, a wealth of literature and online information is available on the subject. Additionally, check with local museums to see if they feature and Egyptology department or can recommend experts willing to help you learn. Understanding the history and society of an ancient culture is often enhanced by learning the language and important symbols used during its existence. By studying the meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphs and artistic symbols, you may be able to shed a little more light on one of the greatest and most complex civilizations ever to grace the planet.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis , Writer
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for Language & Humanities. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.

Discussion Comments

By fify — On Jan 31, 2015

@fBoyle-- Like the article of this article said, this symbol like many Egyptian symbols can have slightly different meanings depending on the context in which it is used and the other symbols accompanying it. As far as I know, the Eye of Horus is mostly about health of the body, recovery from illness and also prosperity. It can also be used to refer to eye health specifically. It was sometimes worn by people as a talisman to protect against "evil eye."

The concept of "evil eye" still exists in many cultures today. And in the Middle East, you will see a lot of necklaces and jewelry in the shape of a blue eye. People may wear them believing that they will ward off "evil eyes." The meaning of "Evil eye" is jealousy and hatred of others that can cause one to become ill.

I think that today's evil eye talismans are actually an extension of the Eye of Horus but many people do not know. The strange part is that many of the cultures who believe and use this are Muslim cultures where the belief of objects granting protection generally isn't accepted. We can say that it's a cultural tradition that has stuck on.

By fBoyle — On Jan 31, 2015

Can anyone tell me more about the Eye of Horus? I'm writing a paper on Egyptian symbols and I want to mostly talk about this symbol. What are some of the other meanings and uses of this symbol that the article mentioned?

By stoneMason — On Jan 30, 2015

We learned about Egyptian culture, pyramid, mummification and basic symbols in middle school social science class. I had found the topic very interesting, it was one of the most enjoyable lessons for us. I still remember the symbol for eternal life for example. We had also learned the symbols and did some exercises with them.

I think that Egyptian symbols are very representative of the worldview, traditions and beliefs of Egyptians at that time. The importance of the pharaoh, the preparation for death and afterlife impacted the kind of symbols Egyptians made and used. The fact that a lot of the symbols are about life after death shows how much Egyptians pondered on the idea. I actually think that they feared death or not knowing what would happen after death.

Jessica Ellis

Jessica Ellis

Writer

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.