The Ancient Egyptians sometimes had to transliterate foreign names (for example, the name Cleopatra) into hieroglyphs, and I'm sure there are loanwords or technical terms from other contemporary languages which were adopted into Egyptian which also had to be transliterated.

I am wondering whether there is any (easily-accessible!) collection of such transliterations. Can anybody help? If this would be a better fit on a different SE site then do let me know.

Edit to add specificity

More specifically, I'm looking for a collection which shows:

  • The non-Egyptian name/word (with some indication as to pronounciation if not in a Latin/Greek script)
  • The Egyptian transliteration
  • A representative example of it written in hieroglyphs (I'm aware that there are in general many ways to write any given Egyptian word in hieroglyphs, but any attested one would suffice)

Insofar as era affects the question, I'd prefer examples from Middle Egyptian.

In response to Draconis's question in a comment, I'm specifically interested in cases where the Egyptians were rendering something phonetically, attempting to write down the sounds. I haven't heard the term 'group-writing' (and a brief Google was less helpful than I expected) but that sounds promising.

  • 1
    Are you looking specifically for names written in group-writing (a specialized way of transcribing foreign names) or also loanwords that got assimilated but we know linguistically were loaned?
    – Draconis
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 18:19
  • @Draconis I guess the former was what I was thinking of, but I'd be interested in seeing either.
    – dbmag9
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 18:45

2 Answers 2


Just a collection? I have one, here we go!
The language is Ptolemaic Demotic Egyptian. enter image description here The rightmost column is Coptic, that's the latest Egyptian.

The page is taken from Demotic Egyptian Guide - Texts, exercises and vocabulary [2008, Leonardo Caldas Vieira], page 140.

  • 1
    most of these are obvious borrowings, but several seem quite opaque to me. Is there any discussion of the source of Babylonia sngr, Phoenicia d3h3 (forgive my limited keyboard), Somalia t3 ntr, or Syria hr (this one could just be the Semitic word for mountain I guess?)
    – Tristan
    Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 10:49
  • 1
    @Tristan t3 nTr means (in my very limited beginner's Egyptian) 'the land of the god', so is certainly a translation/local name rather than a transliteration.
    – dbmag9
    Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 12:01
  • 1
    @YellowSky This is really interesting, but it's made me realise that what I was looking for was more specific than what I originally wrote, so I will update the question.
    – dbmag9
    Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 12:04
  • 2
    @Tristan - I can explain sngr for ‘Babylonia’. Wiki says: “Shinar (/ˈʃaɪnɑːr/; Hebrew שִׁנְעָר Šīnʿār, Septuagint Σεννααρ Sennaar) is the southern region of Mesopotamia in the Hebrew Bible. Hebrew שנער Šinʿar is equivalent to the Egyptian Sngr and Hittite Šanḫar(a), all referring to southern Mesopotamia. Some Assyriologists considered Šinʿar a western variant or cognate of Šumer (Sumer), with their original being the Sumerians' own name for their country, ki-en-gi(-r).”
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Jan 15, 2021 at 14:40

Part I of Hoch's Semitic Words in Egyptian Texts of the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period lists almost 600 transcriptions of Semitic names and terms, mainly in group-writing.

Each one lists out all the different ways it was spelled in hieroglyphs, a transliteration of each, and a transliteration of the original as best can be approximated. For a random example:

a sample passage from this book

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