from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The record produced by a chronograph.
  • noun An inscribed phrase in which certain letters can be read as Roman numerals indicating a specific date.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An inscription in which a certain date or epoch is expressed by the numeral letters contained in it, each letter being counted according to its independent value, as in the motto of a medal struck by Gustavus Adolphus in 1632: “ChrIstVs DVX; ergo trIVMphVs” (C + I + V + D + V + X + I + V + M + V—that is, 100 + 1 + 5 + 500 + 5 + 10 + 1 + 5 + 1000 + 5 = 1632).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An inscription in which certain numeral letters, made to appear specially conspicuous, on being added together, express a particular date or epoch, as in the motto of a medal struck by Gustavus Adolphus in 1632: ChrIstVs DVX; ergo trIVMphVs. - the capitals of which give, when added as numerals, the sum 1632.
  • noun The record or inscription made by a chronograph.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A sentence or inscription in which the capital letters, interpreted in Roman numerals, stand for a particular date if rearranged.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek χρόνος (khronos, "time") + γράμμα (gramma, "writing").


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  • A chronogram for a desolate scene,

    A twelvemonth both wretched and mean:

    Though MeMory's vexed

    There's hope that the neXt

    ImproVes on vIle twenty-sIxteen.

    December 22, 2016

  • (noun) - One of the simplest devices of the word-juggler, and as old as the Romans. It consists in selecting certain letters indicating a date from a name or an inscription on a tomb, an arch, or a medal, printing them larger than the others, and obtaining thereby a date which is regarded as an augury. In some chronograms only the initial letters are counted as forming the solutions to the puzzle, but in others all the characters used for Roman numerals are taken into account. History supplies many first-rate chronograms. In fact it was once the custom to strike medals with chronogramic sentences in which the date of the occasion commemorated was set forth by the letters selected. --Henry Reddall's Fact, Fancy, and Fable, 1889

    April 23, 2018