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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Logogram \Log"o*gram\, n. [Gr. lo`gos word + -gram.] A word letter; a phonogram, that, for the sake of brevity, represents a word; as, |, i. e., t, for it. Cf. Grammalogue.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"sign or character representing a word," 1840, from Greek logos (see logos) + -gram. Generically, "any symbol representing graphically a product, idea, etc." is from 1966. The earliest use of the word (1820) is in the sense "logograph," but OED explains this as a substitute "for logograph, which in this sense is itself a mistake for logogriph."


n. 1 A character or symbol that represents a word or phrase (e.g. a character of the Chinese writing system). 2 A graphical symbol representing a concept or thing, as in roadside signs; a logo.


n. a single written symbol that represents an entire word or phrase without indicating its pronunciation; "7 is a logogram that is pronounced `seven' in English and `nanatsu' in Japanese" [syn: logograph]


In written language, a logogram or logograph is a written character that represents a word or phrase. Chinese characters and Japanese kanji are logograms; some Egyptian hieroglyphs and some graphemes in Cuneiform script are also logograms. The use of logograms in writing is called logography. A writing system that is based on logograms/logographs is called a logographic system.

In alphabets and syllabaries, individual written characters represent sounds rather than concepts. These characters are called phonograms. Unlike logograms, phonograms do not necessarily have meaning by themselves, but are combined to make words and phrases that have meaning. Writing language in this way is called phonemic orthography.

Usage examples of "logogram".

Furthermore, the logogram of any authoritarian society remains fairly inflexible as time passes, but everything else in the universe constantly changes.

The synthesis of Hodge and Podge, and especially of biogram and logogram, in such cultures is indicated by the amazement of explorers from authoritarian societies when first encountering them.

The Egyptians never took the logical (to us) next step of discarding all their logograms, determinatives, and signs for pairs and trios of consonants, and using just their consonantal alphabet.

Later Sumerian cuneiform did become capable of rendering prose, but it did so by the messy system that I've already described, with mixtures of logograms, phonetic signs, and unpronounced determinatives totaling hundreds of separate signs.

The second strategy uses so-called logograms, meaning that one written sign stands for a whole word.

Before the spread of alphabetic writing, systems making much use of logograms were more common and included Egyptian hieroglyphs, Maya glyphs, and Sumerian cuneiform.

Like all alphabetic writing systems, English uses many logograms, such as numerals, $, %, and + : that is, arbitrary signs, not made up of phonetic elements, representing whole words.

Linear B had many logograms, and "logographic" Egyptian hieroglyphs included many syllabic signs as well as a virtual alphabet of individual letters for each consonant.

Thus, Sumerian writing came to consist of a complex mixture of three types of signs: logograms, referring to a whole word or name.

Only later, as Sumerians progressed beyond logograms to phonetic writing, did they begin to write prose narratives, such as propaganda and myths.

Thus, the developmental sequence of uses for alphabetic writing was the reverse of that for the earlier systems of logograms and syllabaries.

The writing was no longer an ambiguous syllabary mixed with logograms but an alphabet borrowed from the Phoenician consonantal alphabet and improved by the Greek invention of vowels.

Under these rules, he could not shoot even in self-defense, for the biogram of government servants was to be preserved, and only their logograms could be disconnected, deactivated and defused.