cuneiform

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cu·ne·i·form / kyoōˈnēəˌfôrm; ˈkyoōn(ē)ə-/ • adj. denoting or relating to the wedge-shaped characters used in the ancient writing systems of Mesopotamia, Persia, and Ugarit, surviving mainly impressed on clay tablets. ∎  Anat. denoting three bones of the tarsus (ankle) between the navicular bone and the metatarsals. ∎ chiefly Biol. wedge-shaped. • n. cuneiform writing.

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cuneiformconform, corm, dorm, form, forme, haulm, lukewarm, Maugham, misinform, norm, outperform, perform, shawm, storm, swarm, transform, underperform, warm •landform • platform • cubiform •fungiform, spongiform •aliform • bacilliform •cuneiform, uniform •variform • vitriform • cruciform •unciform • retiform • multiform •oviform • triform • microform •chloroform • cairngorm • sandstorm •barnstorm •brainstorm, rainstorm •windstorm • snowstorm • firestorm •thunderstorm

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cuneiform System of writing developed in Mesopotamia by c.3000 bc. It consists of wedge-shaped strokes, derived from writing on soft clay with a triangular stylus as a ‘pen’. Cuneiform developed from pictograms. The pictograms came to serve as an ‘alphabet’, eventually consisting of more than 500 characters. Most stood for words, but there were also some that stood for syllables or speech-sounds.

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cuneiform wedge-shaped, spec. of the elements of Assyrian and other inscriptions. XVII (cune(o)form). — F. cunéiforme or modL. cuneiformis, f. cuneus wedge (cf. COIN); see -FORM.

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cuneiform denoting or relating to the wedge-shaped characters used in the ancient writing systems of Mesopotamia, Persia, and Ugarit, surviving mainly impressed on clay tablets. The name comes ultimately (via French or modern Latin) from Latin cuneus ‘wedge’.

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