Home Up Hieroglyphs 101 Spoken Hieroglyphics Dictionary Temple Ritual

Hieroglyphics 101
circa 1402- 1375 BC  18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom

WRITE like an Egyptian
SPEAK like an Egyptian
Let's start with one we all know: Common Greetings and sayings 

  = given life

onnkhs= (life belongs,
 life is given)

= living forever

=nehah (eternity)
= forever eternally
= given life eternally
= foundation (mound)
= Truth, divine order; what is right, just, and orderly

= Living in Truth

         = maat ma'at  Mu'at (pronounced Muh-aht)

  = (lady of the two lands)
= onkh, wedja, seneb (Life, wholeness/ prosperity , health.
= sDm
(To hear)  pronounced Sedjeem

eda'tiy (deafened)

= á quón

(= fin, the end, finished, complete) lit: completion indeed)

=Te'na (ancient, old)
- to love  mr Prounouced like marry with a drawn out ee at the end
= fear (noun) snd prounounced  zint






Glyphs can be written backwards or forwards. The direction of the faces and orientation -like the snakes to the left- clue you in on which way to read. The faces face the BEGINNING of the text.

Ankhsoun pa Aten
"her life belongs to Aten"

= Aten

= Amen, pronounced ah-mane


= Great Royal wife,

Hemet Nesu Wer(l)et

an alternate image:


"Love is raised above fear"

merree doon a(r) zint
?doon a(r) ?   




Learn the symbols, then make your own

NOTES: The "J" is pronounced like ZH as in Azure, D















istia = behold, Lo!, this is, Here is, Attention!:

Zeelti= calm yourself

di s = she gives 3rd pers. Sing. Fem

Ardi s tiya kam r [name]=
Let her give, indeed completion to [name]

Z ardi= cause to give

Z = gives causative meaning to a verb

dong = to give a hand

koo= moved

iar= upon

eire (sometimes spelled iri) = eye (not the eye of horus)




Modern Egyptologists substitute a generic "e" sound for any unknown vowels. But she pronounced her name Ankhsoun pa Aten. . Here I list some of the "unknown" vowels.

zan-tee kai m en = we great you again, lit. Greeting to you, another from us!

saha tena = may long life be established

natara di zeem = May god give help

adatcha = abundant health

azanta = to do obeisance  (lit: to smell the ground)

azoolta = "may the great hand in heaven [be over you! "]

zatam = cause to close

za atam = I will depart, and end

kon = (like french quand) complete, finish, make perfect

tam = cognate word for end

teem = to close

tem= the closed thing

tam= death, the end


na-eel = the river  This is why we call their river the Nile (see above)

zarood ik = you strengthen 2nd pers. Sing. Masc

za ti = you know 2nd person sing. fem.

oo f = he is 3rd pers. Sing. Masc.

vra st = it goes forth

mowda en = we talk 1st pers. plural

Da zeet! = That is it! (emphatic) Do you think it  sounds like our "That's it!"?

Zeet! = it is so

onkh-m-maat =living in truth

azeeta.m.ad  what is annoying?

iw =is, are
pronounced "oo"  transcribed "iw")

"It is important to regard the evidence"

iw   ir ?
      oo    ale    i-a(r)          woo-ent     
Egyptians slurred the sounds of their phrases together, similar to French liasion

this phrase could be pronounced:

or   oo- al -ly-ah oo-nt              

even though
the common transliteration
is quite different.

The phrase meant  Importance (or useful, valuable) is evidence  (lit."what is brought"  )

is  - important - as to (regarding, emphatic) -something brought  (evidence, in this case)



Glossary of terms

Akh, Akhet & Ankh -
= "Spirit" It is in aspect of the soul, like the more well-known Ka & Ba
Akhet = "Horizon"
Ankh = "Life" or a variant thereof (ie. Living, Lives, etc...)

Akhet-Aten (Akhetaten) - "Horizon of Aten". The ancient name for Amarna (Tell el-Amarna), Akhenaten's capital in middle Egypt.

Aten (Aton, Iten) - the Sun-Disc. The sole (official) God during the Amarna Period. In glyphs it is spelled I-t-n.

Amun (amoon, Home UpAmon, Amen, Imen) - The "Hidden One," the King of the Gods during the New Kingdom. His main center of worship was Thebes (Waset) and he was thus the patron of the House of Thebes, the ruling family of the 18th dynasty. That is, until Akhenaten rejected him.
In hieroglyphs, Amun is written as follows: I-mn-n. This is why names like Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamen can be spelled so many different ways -- Amen, Amon and Amun are all just approximations of how it would have been pronounced.

Co-Regent - A king who rules at the same time as another king. This was common in many dynasties in Egypt. In most cases, it was the Crown Prince who was made a co-ruler with his father, in order for the Prince to learn how to be a King.

Dahamunzu - Ta-hemet-nesu: "The King's Wife." How the Egyptian queen (Ankhesenamen?) signed her letters to the Hittites.

Heda - the winged sun disc. Akha ma Heda! (May the Winged Sun Disc protect and envelop you! - common blessing of the day)

Hemet Nesu Weret - "Queen." The Egyptian's had no word for "Queen." A Pharaoh had many wives, but (normally) only one Hemet Nesu Weret: Great Royal Wife or King's Great Wife. She would be the 'Queen' in the modern sense of the word, the first lady of Egypt.

Ka -     an aspect of the soul. Spirit. Life force.

Kemet - What the Egyptians called Egypt. It means "The Black Land," refers to the dark, fertile soil of the Nile valley.

Ma'at (Maat, Maet, Mayet) - Truth, Justice, Divine Order. Also a Goddess who is patroness of the same.
Ex: Ankh em MA'AT: "Living in TRUTH."

Mennefer - an ancient name for the Egyptian city of Memphis, where Tutankhamen's court most likely went after they left Amarna.

Mut - Mother. Mut also was a goddess, the wife of Amun. In hieroglyphs, her name is spelled something like: M-w-t. (Tutankhamen's name is like that too! The 'u' in 'Tut' is probably more correctly written as 'w', but that's difficult to say! Twt, that is. :)
Mut Nesu - King's Mother = 'Dowager Queen'

Neb & Nebet - Neb: Lord, Master; Nebet: Lady, Mistress.
Ex: in NEBkheperure: "LORD of the Manifestations of RE." or Nebet-Tawy: "LADY of the Two Lands."

Nefer, Neferu & Nefert - Good, Beautiful, Perfect. Nefert is the feminine version of Nefer, Neferu or Nefru is the plural.
Ex: NEFERTiti: "The Beautiful One Has Come."

Nesu - Royal, of the King.
Ex: Sit NESU "King's Daughter" or "Royal Daughter."

Netjer, Netjert, & Netjeru - Netjer: God, Divine; Netjert: Goddess, Divine (fem); Netjeru: Gods.
Ex: Ay's title of It Netjer: "DIVINE Father" or "God's Father."

Per'aa - Great House: "Palace". It is also the Egyptian title that developed into the word "Pharaoh." Think of how Americans use "the White House."
Ex: "The White House responded today by placing economic sanctions on such-and-such a country." The house itself didn't do anything, but the people who live/work in the house did. See? :)

Ra (Re) - the Sun, a Sun God.
Ex: SetepenRa: "Chosen of RA" or "Chosen of the SUN."

Sen & Senet - Sen = brother. Senet = sister.
Sen Nesu - King's Brother = 'Prince'
Senet Nesu - King's Sister = 'Princess'
Senet is also the name of an Egyptian board game.
Lovers also called each other "Brother" and "Sister."

Si & Sit - Si (or Sa) = Son. Sit (or Sat) = Daughter.
Si Nesu - King's Son = 'Prince'
Sit Nesu - King's Daughter = 'Princess'
Si Re (or Sa Ra) - Son of Re, one of the titles of a King, it preceeded his birth name. (ie. Neb-Tawy, Nebkheperure; Si Re, Tutankhamen)

Waset (Wast) - The ancient name for the city of Thebes. Thebes was the city where the ruling family of the 18th dynasty came from orignally. It was also the religious capital during most of said dynasty.

Wer & Weret - Important, most valuable (see quote. (Aa -- as in per'aa -- means something similar) Weret is the feminine version of Wer.
Ex: Hemet-Nesu-WERET "King's GREAT (most important) Wife." 

Symbol Meaning English Sound
vulture short A, as in cat
forearm a thoaty gurgle: ah whilst swallowing. Most just say "ah" like the a in arm.
leg hard B, as in big
basket,hillside hard C (K), as in call
hobble rope CH, as in children
hand hard D, as in dog
two reed leaves long E, as in lead
vulture short E, as in met
horned viper F, as in flower
pot stand hard G, as in gap
cobra soft G, as in generous
shelter, rope H, as in he, who
reed leaf short i as in thin.  Yodh stop not usually written. An aspirated y
cobra J, as in jelly
basket, hillside hard C or K, as in kind, Christmas, lack
mouth L, as in lisp, linger
mound, foundation M, as in mound
owl M, as in milk, dumb
water N, as in none
quail chick long O, as in lose, moon  "oo"
vulture short O, as in brought, got
stool V as in Victor, sometimes F (not P)
horned viper PH, as in pharaoh
+ basket + quail Q, as in queen
mouth R, as in red
folded linen S, (soft C), as in silly, peace
lake SH, as in shilling
loaf of bread T, as in talk
cow belly soft TH, as in moth
(not known) hard TH, as in there
quail chick short U, as in lull
+ reed + quail long U, as in rule
horned viper V, as in villain
quail chick W, as in will, where, when
+ basket + linen X, as in fox
reed leaf short Y, as in yes

two reed leaves long Y, as in tarry
door fastening Z sound, as in xylophone, zany