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1. of, relating to, or characteristic of Egypt, its inhabitants, or their dialect of Arabic
2. of, relating to, or characteristic of the ancient Egyptians, their language, or culture
3. Archaic of or relating to the Gypsies
4. a member of an indigenous non-Semitic people who established an advanced civilization in Egypt that flourished from the late fourth millennium bc
5. the extinct language of the ancient Egyptians, belonging to the Afro-Asiatic family of languages. It is recorded in hieroglyphic inscriptions, the earliest of which date from before 3000 bc. It was extinct by the fourth century ad
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the language of the ancient Egyptians, the inhabitants of the Nile valley. Together with Coptic, which developed from it, Egyptian belongs to the Hamito-Semitic family. A dead language since the fifth century A.D., Egyptian is one of the most ancient cultural languages of the world. The first written records in Egyptian date from the turn of the third millennium B.C.; the latest documents are from the fifth century A.D. Over a period of 35 centuries the language changed considerably. The following periods are distinguished in its development: the Old Egyptian period (30th to 22nd centuries B.C.), the Middle Egyptian period (22nd to 16th centuries B.C.), the Late Egyptian period (16th to eighth centuries B.C.), and the demotic period (eighth century B.C. to the fifth century A.D.). Coptic began to take shape in approximately the third century A.D.

The phonetic composition of Egyptian has been comparatively poorly studied: the consonants are known, but the vowels are not, since they were not written. In open syllables the vowels were long; in closed syllables they were short. The stress fell on the last and penultimate syllables. Nouns were of two genders, masculine and feminine, and there were three numbers—singular, dual, and plural. The case forms in Egyptian were not expressed by affixes. The cases were analytical—that is, they were expressed by prepositional groups. Adjectives were qualitative or relative; there were both cardinal and ordinal numerals. Verbs in Egyptian were of three categories—transitive, verbs that could be both transitive and intransitive, and intransitive—and had both active and passive forms. The imperative and subjunctive moods could be distinguished morphologically. There was no category of tense in early Egyptian. Verb forms indicated action or state, momentary or repeated quality of action, brevity, and duration of action. Later, certain forms in Egyptian came to be used more or less systematically to express time periods and gradually came to acquire the meaning of tense. The predicate is the basis for classification of sentences in Egyptian; it is expressed by the verb, as well as by certain other parts of speech. As a result, both verbal and nonverbal sentences existed in Egyptian.


Korostovtsev, M. Egipetskii iazyk. Moscow, 1961.
Petrovskii, N. S. Egipetskii iazyk. Leningrad, 1958.
Spiegelberg, W. Demotische Grammatik. Heidelberg, 1925.
Erman, A. Ägyptische Grammatik. Berlin, 1928.
Erman, A. Neuaegyptische Grammatik. Leipzig, 1933.
Lexa, F. Grammaire démotique. Prague, 1949–50.
Lefebvre, G. Grammaire de l’egyptien classique. Cairo, 1955.
Gardiner, A. Egyptian Grammar. London, 1957.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
"I beg your pardon," said Doctor Ponnonner at this point, laying his hand gently upon the arm of the Egyptian -- "I beg your pardon, sir, but may I presume to interrupt you for one moment?"
I presume, therefore, that we are to attribute the marked inferiority of the old Egyptians in all particulars of science, when compared with the moderns, and more especially with the Yankees, altogether to the superior solidity of the Egyptian skull."
Thirteen Egyptian provinces determined all at once to be free, and to set a magnificent example to the rest of mankind.
Not knowing what to say to this, I raised my voice, and deplored the Egyptian ignorance of steam.
The grottoes at this point, although less magnificent than the Theban sepulchres, are of higher interest, on account of affording more numerous illustrations of the private life of the Egyptians. The chamber from which our specimen was taken, was said to be very rich in such illustrations; the walls being completely covered with fresco paintings and bas-reliefs, while statues, vases, and Mosaic work of rich patterns, indicated the vast wealth of the deceased.
As for the Count, he merely asked me, in the way of reply, if we moderns possessed any such microscopes as would enable us to cut cameos in the style of the Egyptians. While I was thinking how I should answer this question, little Doctor Ponnonner committed himself in a very extraordinary way.
They could not be compared, of course, with the vast, level, direct, iron-grooved causeways upon which the Egyptians conveyed entire temples and solid obelisks of a hundred and fifty feet in altitude.
Hereupon we recovered our spirits, and the Doctor, approaching the Mummy with great dignity, desired it to say candidly, upon its honor as a gentleman, if the Egyptians had comprehended, at any period, the manufacture of either Ponnonner's lozenges or Brandreth's pills.
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CAIRO, July 3 (KUNA) -- Egypt has condemned the London-based Christie Auction House selling of scores of Egyptian artefacts as an illegal action that violates international cultural heritage protection conventions.
The number of Egyptian immigrants who have obtained approval to immigrate and those who have acquired immigrant status reached 385 immigrants (main and accompanied) in 2018 compared to 348 immigrants in 2017, an increase of 10.6%, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) in its annual bulletin of the Egyptians obtained with approval called, "To migrate abroad and Egyptians with another nationality in 2018."
CAIRO: An attack on an Egyptian woman living in Kuwait has spiralled into a war of words between politicians from the two countries.

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