Definitions

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

  • adj. Of or relating to a style of writing characterized by somewhat rounded capital letters and found especially in Greek and Latin manuscripts of the fourth to the eighth century A.D.
  • n. A style of writing characterized by somewhat rounded capital letters. It provided the model from which most of the capital letters in the modern Latin alphabet are derived.
  • n. A capital letter written in this style.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of, or relating to an ounce, or an inch, especially to letters printed an inch high.
  • adj. Of, or relating to a majuscule style of writing with unjoined, rounded letters, originally used in the 4th–9th centuries.
  • n. A style of writing using uncial letters.
  • n. A letter in this style.
  • n. A manuscript in this style.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of, pertaining to, or designating, a certain style of letters used in ancient manuscripts, esp. in Greek and Latin manuscripts. The letters are somewhat rounded, and the upstrokes and downstrokes usually have a slight inclination. These letters were used as early as the 1st century b. c., and were seldom used after the 10th century a. d., being superseded by the cursive style.
  • n. An uncial letter.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to an ounce. In paleography, noting that variety of majuscule character, or writing, usually found in the earlier manuscripts, as opposed to the later minuscule, or cursive.
  • n. An uncial letter; also, uncial letters collectively; uncial writing.
  • n. A manuscript written in uncials.

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

  • n. a style of orthography characterized by somewhat rounded capital letters; found especially in Greek and Latin manuscripts of the 4th to 8th centuries
  • adj. relating to or written in majuscule letters (which resemble modern capitals)

Etymologies

From Late Latin ūnciālēs (litterae), inch-high (letters), uncials, pl. of Latin ūnciālis, inch-high, from ūncia, a twelfth part, ounce, inch; see oi-no- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Attested 1650, from Latin uncia ("one twelfth part, ounce, inch"). (Wiktionary)
Attested 1712, from Late Latin unciales ("uncials"), unciales litterae ("uncial letters") (Jerome), plural of uncialis ("pertaining to one twelfth part, ounce, or inch"), from uncia ("one twelfth part, ounce, inch"). The literal meaning is unclear: some references indicate "inch-high letters", but see “Uncial script” in Wikipedia. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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