Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act or an instance of inscribing.
  • n. A marking, such as the wording on a coin, medal, monument, or seal, that is inscribed.
  • n. A piece of material, such as a stone or metal tablet, that is inscribed.
  • n. An enrollment or a registration of names.
  • n. A short, signed message in a book or on a photograph given as a gift.
  • n. The usually informal dedication of a book or an artistic work.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Text carved on a wall or plaque, such as a memorial or gravestone.
  • n. The text on a coin.
  • n. Words written in the front of a book as a dedication.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act or process of inscribing.
  • n. That which is inscribed; something written or engraved; especially, a word or words written or engraved on a solid substance for preservation or public inspection
  • n. A line of division or intersection.
  • n. An address, consignment, or informal dedication, as of a book to a person, as a mark of respect or an invitation of patronage.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of inscribing, in any sense of that word.
  • n. Inscribed symbols, letters, or words; specifically, a descriptive, explanatory, or illustrative memorandum, as a name, title, motto, panegyric, etc., written, engraved, or stamped, as on a monument, a medal, etc.: as, an inscription on a tombstone, on a gem, a book, or a picture; the inscriptions on the obverse and reverse of a coin or a medal.
  • n. Specifically In archœol., a historical, religious, or other record cut, impressed, painted, or written on stone, brick, metal, or other hard surface: as, the inscription on the Rosetta or the Moabite stone; the cuneiform inscriptions on rocks or brick cylinders; the inscriptions on the Egyptian temples or in the Roman catacombs; the inscriptions on Greek vases, votive tablets of terra-cotta, etc.
  • n. A form of complimentary presentation or offering of a book or work of art, less elaborate than a dedication.
  • n. In early church music, a sign or motto, or both combined, placed at the beginning of a canon written in an enigmatical manner, to show how it was to be resolved. The inscription was often designedly more puzzling than the canon itself.
  • n. In the civil law, a consent by an accuser that, if the accusation be false, he will submit to the same punishment which would have been inflicted upon the accused had he been guilty.
  • n. Entry on the calendar, as of a cause in court.
  • n. In geometry, the inscribingof one figure in another; also, the state of being so inscribed.
  • n. A tendinous line interrupting the fleshy fibers of a muscle: seen especially in the abdominal muscles.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a short message (as in a book or musical work or on a photograph) dedicating it to someone or something
  • n. the activity of inscribing (especially carving or engraving) letters or words
  • n. letters inscribed (especially words engraved or carved) on something

Etymologies

Middle English inscripcioun, statement giving the author or title of a book, from Latin īnscrīptiō, īnscrīptiōn-, from īnscrīptus, past participle of īnscrībere, to inscribe; see inscribe.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin inscriptionem (inscriptio). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Auschwitz theft suspect extradited 'this week' (7 Apr 10) Högström has denied plotting to steal the sign -- whose German inscription translates as "Work Will Set You Free" -- Boguslawa Marcinkowska, spokeswoman for prosecutors in Krakow, southern Poland, said without giving further details.

    The Local - Sweden's news in English

  • Below this inscription is a further one, of which we again quote Mr. Fyfe's translation:

    The Book of Sun-Dials

  • While all this discussion was going on, a new letter and new photographs popped into the Guardian's letters editor's inbox: Robert Harrison and his son, having seen the article, had taken the matter into their own hands, gone down to Wadhurst and tidied up the grave on their own initiative: cut the grass, planted cyclamens, and cleaned the gravestone so that its inscription is once more visible.

    Maurice Tate: An extraordinary response for an extraordinary man

  • The inscription is the same on all three medals: "Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per artes" (loosely translated, "And they who bettered life on earth by new found mastery.")

    Nobel Prize Anniversary on stamp

  • Although Sarah had not been particularly religious, she had her own variety of reverence for a Celtic cross with a Latin inscription, "Ibit amor, ubit fides," meaning, Where there is love, there is faith.

    William

  • I love a book's unique heft in my hands, the creased corners that once held my place or marked a passage another reader found particularly notable, perhaps an inscription from a beloved author or an ancestor's fading "ex libris", the weight of the paper and the scent of ink and dust.

    MIND MELD: The Pros and Cons of eBooks

  • But Tholuck … shows that the meaning of this inscription is wholly different from that of the name Jahveh.

    jhvh is the enemy of god and man

  • This inscription is written at the bottom of the large stone block.

    Superhero Nation: how to write superhero novels and comic books » EWill79’s Review Forum

  • The main inscription on the reverse side of all three "Swedish" Nobel

    The Nobel Prize Medals and the Medal for the Prize in Economics

  • Where Urbino's text offers a dedicatory introduction to Duke Federico, the Latin inscription at Gubbio is a distich dedicated to the liberal arts, composed by court scholar Federico Veterani. 20 It proceeds:

    Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro

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