This page is a Stub, you can help the Heaven's Vault wiki by expanding it.
This page has spoilers regarding the game. Read at your own risk!
Find the spoiler-free page here.

Deciphering Ancient is largely made possible because individual characters, or "glyphs," convey meaning. For instance, the glyph meaning "person" connected to the character for "one" creates the word "I" or "me." Adding the glyph indicating possession changes it to "my." More complex words are created by combining multiple glyphs, sometimes using their connotative rather than their literal meanings.


Atoms are extracted from the game output file, from lines such as this:

TransModelWord: Word: [PrototypeWordModel: englishWord=Goddess, atoms=person,joinGlyph2,Knowledge]
Glyph Atom Type Meaning
; quality Part of speech Adjective
" verb Part of speech Verb
) noun Part of speech Noun, basic/concrete
Standalone word: "thing."
( property Part of speech Noun, complex/abstract
? query Part of speech Questions, conditionals
' of Relationship/
Standalone word: "of" or "as"
x not Relationship Negation: no, none, not
. joinGlyph2 Relationship Connects glyphs within a word.
Appears after Category-type glyphs.
: joinGlyph1 Relationship Connects glyphs within a word.
Indicates a subject/object relationship; the following glyphs explain the previous one in more detail.
, primitive Relationship Indicates that the previous glyph's meaning is the meaning of the entire word.
w and Relationship And
Often appears as an independent word.
j Being Relationship Any present form of the verb "to be" (am, is, etc.)
Often appears as an independent word.
0 0 Number Zero, none, nothing
1 1 Number One
Also used to indicate first person, relating to the speaker.
2 2 Number Two
Also used to indicate second person, relating to the listener/reader.
3 3 Number Three
Also used to indicate third person, relating to others.
4 4 Number Four
5 5 Number Five
6 6 Number Six
7 7 Number Seven
8 8 Number Eight
9 9 Number Nine
f many Number Many, multiple, plurality
Sometimes used as an intensifier, ie, "very."
t plant Category Plant, nature
u place Category Location, place
c time Category Time
y mineral Category Editors uncertain: likely means either "tool," "metal," or "charged." Seems to be made of glyphs for "light" and "rock," hence "sparkling rock."
r person Category Human, person (made up of the glyphs for "creature" and "knowledge")
k creature Category Animal, nonhuman
g Say Category Communicate. Similarity to "knowledge."
= Water General Liquid, water
May also represent speed or value
z Heat General Fire, flame, heat
Metaphorically, anger or violence
v Rock General Rock, ground, earth
h Light General Light, happiness
s Motion General Movement, travel, path
l Life General Life, living
o Circle General Complete/whole, cyclical, round, loop
q Food General Food
i High General Height, up
p Knowledge General Knowledge
b past_tense General Past, history
Also used to mark past tense on verbs.
d Beginning General Beginning
e Possession General Hold, carry
n Join General Together, joined, near
m Separate General Separate, divided, far
a Truth General Truth, correct
Metaphorically, goodness, justice, or beauty


Word Meaning Logic Subword(s) Word/Morpheme
;'sc.xd across toward [the] end '.s (toward)
c.xd (end)
" act / do
b" acted / did
"y.s activate
"by.s activated
c(.w again time-more: [one] more time (.w (more)
'.su.d ahead toward [the] front '.s (toward)
u.d (front)
"'sr.el aid/save/restore give-life "'sr.e (give)
)i, air
of all/every complete-multiple: whole [of] many
s'.i along
c.of always/forever time-all: [for] all time of (all)
;fc ancient/old many/much-time
w and
(r.z anger property-person-heat: heated emotion
;(r.z angry quality [of] anger (r.z (anger)
1(.w another
)fr."el army many-soldiers r."el (soldier)
'.o around
"u.vs arrive/land/enter ground-motion: go (to the) ground "u.v (ground)
'.?.)s as if as-if ?.)s (if)
"?."g ask
'.e at/in of-possession
;m, away/apart/distant/far
"'sr.esu.x'e banish send-outside "' (send)
u.x'e (outside)
"b'sr.esu.x'e banished
;(.h(.al beautiful
(.h(.al beauty
;'ex'e:)"p because
;bd before
"c.d begin
"pa believe
"ju.l belong
(."xa betrayal
u.' between
;bc.xd beyond
;'.f big
"mq bite
"'.r.p bless
)"'r.p blessing
;r.x:"ph blind quality (of a) person deprived of (the capacity) to watch r.x (person deprived of)
"ph (to watch)
)l= blood
")si blow
)s:)si boat/ship vehicle (for) wind )s (vehicle)
)si (wind)
)r body
)'.p book object of/with knowledge
u.xi bottom
"e:)i breathe
;h, bright
;'of:;h brightest
;"bzm broken
"nv build
)vu.l building
"bnv built
"bu.vxs buried
xw but
"e:"e buy
"(.gj call
"b(.gj called
"bsu came
?." can
x?." can-not
"c.xd cease
y.)n chain
"t."l change
r.;ec child
)o, circle
r.':)s:)si citizen
"xhs close action to cease (the) motion of light "x (action to cease)
hs (motion of light)
"bxhs closed past action to cease (the) motion of light "bx (past action to cease)
hs (motion of light)
;xz cold
"su come
"bc.xd completed
"n, connect
"'sr.e:)xl:"= corrupt
"ph(.1w1 count
r.")xl"p coward
rt.)rt.i craftsman
)n:)sr crotch
(.;xr."le cruelty
)"= cup
;)mo curved
(."e)xl danger
;(."e:)xl dangerous
;)xh dark
)xh darkness
)ih dawn
)c.o day
;)xl dead
)xl death
"gxa deceive
(.xa deception
(."as decision
"v:"g:)s declare
;fxi deep
"u.l defend/protect
"g:"ex demand
"bg:"ex demanded
"xp:)i deny
"xl die
"be:;'ex'eh discovered
x" do-not
("hs door
"=, drink
"xl= drown
;"xl dying
)of each
k.i eagle/bird
'.k.i eagle's
)r."p:)i ear
)t.v earth
;ykr.)'pr efficient
r.)pr emperor person (who makes the) law )pr (law)
'r.)pr Emperor's
ur.)pr.)fr Empire
'ur.)pr.)fr Empire's
c.xd end
;c.of endless
"(r.h enjoy
;ff'f enormous
)"hs entrance
;1's1 equal
"b:)ils escaped
)c.of eternity
of) everything
);'f:)z explosion
)r.h eye
";x:"ph fade
"bxe:)si failed
"sxi fall
;b:"sxi fallen
;=, fast
")xl:"p fear
"'sr.eq feed
"bsxi fell
utu.v fields
"r.z fight
"u.'eof fill
"e:;'ex'eh find
r."e;'ex'eh finder
;'of:;(.al finest
)z, fire
c.1 first
;x:)'o flat
"bsu.)hi flew
"s= flow
t.a flower
"su.)hi fly
"'.s follow
"xep forget
;)il free
)il freedom
r."le friend
(r."le friendship r."le (friend) frog
x'.s from
;':"c.xd full
ut garden
rut gardener
);'f:)"hs gates
"b'sr.e gave
)"'sr.e gift
"'sr.e give
r."'sr.e giver
"s, go, goes "motion", set apart with" (indicates verb) and , ("itself") s
);(.=:)"= goblet
'.r.p God's
r.p god/goddess person and knowledge phys
;(.al good
;(."ph(.;r."le grateful
"bt."l grew
u.v ground place rock
r."u.l' guardian
""p guess
;r.n hale
)"r hand
;(r.h happy
;v, hard
")m:)r harm
)"eq harvest
"e, have/hold/own/carry/take
)'.pr head
"n) heal
"p:)i hear
)"le heart
'u.)hi heaven's of place [where there are] star[s] )hi (star) bo-cataliti
ur.1 here place [near] me r.1 (I/me)
;"xj:"ph hidden
"xj:"ph hide
;i, high
;'of:;r.p holiest
;r.p holy godly (adjective of god) r.p (god/goddess)
u.l home place [where one] lives catya
;of(.al honest
(.of(.al honesty
)"sii hopper
)u.l house
kr human(s) creature [who is] intelligent-being meke
25i2 hundred
r.1 I/me first person
)=:;xs ice water not moving
)pi idea
?.)s if
"h, illuminate
;ia important
)m:)r injury
"bg:)'o intended
j is
xj is-not
rk it
"e:)z itches
'.rk its
)hiv jewel
)"s:)s journey
(r.h joy
)"mqru key
"el kill
"bel killed
r.a king
)u.)so:)sr knee
";xi:)u.)so:)sr kneel
)v:)n knot
)p, knowledge
u.lo land/moon/world/globe el
"bu.vs landed
c.x1 last
")(.gi:;(r.h laugh
"c.d:"s:)s launch
)pr law
"g:)s lead
"ep learn
"ms leave
"'sr.e:"hs let
u.)'p library
)l, life
"si lift
)h, light
)ho line
"bh lit
"bl lived
)'.v load
;'.fs long
"xe lose
;"xe lost
"le love
;xi low/below
;of:)"le loyal
(.of:)"le loyalty
;ft lush
(.i= luxury
y.) machine
f many
)':"zm mark
?c." may
"r.f1n meet
'r."' merchant's
(."'sr.e"le mercy
y.v metal mine
"c.ofn mix
(.w more
"nv:)'o mould
)iv mountain
)d:)=:)si mouth thing beginning (the) river )d (thing beginning)
)=:)si (river)
(.gi music
ac." must
xac." must-not
'.r.1 my / mine belonging to me r.1 (I/me) boyauki
);"xj:"ph mystery
;xm near
)fhi Nebula
':)fhi Nebula's
c.x never
;ec new
21 next
;r."le nice
)bc.o night
0 no
r.0 no-one
r."r.s nomad person (who) walk )r (person)
"r.s (walk)
xof not-all
)0, nothing
c.)r.1 now
u.x nowhere
;")pr obedient
(.")pr obedience
"b:)pr obeyed past action (linked to the) law "b (past action)
)pr (law)
u.f= ocean
' of/by/as/with/than bo
'.i on
1c once
1 one
;'.1 only
"hs open
?.w or
"vsu organise
)xr.1 other
'.r.f1 our
x'.e out
"l:;(.w:;m outlive
rykr."asr overseer
"be owned
ur.)pr palace place [of the] emperor r.)pr (emperor)
r.e;ec parent
c.b:" past
)s, path
u.x:"r.z peace
)fr people
)zk.i phoenix
(.xof piece
r."sur.p pilgrim person (who) come (for/by) God "su (come)
r.p (God)
'r."sur.p pilgrim's
)u place cat
)u, place
t plant
)xl:"= poison death to drink )xl (death)
"= (to drink)
u.xs port
r.)"nvv potter
)y.h power
y.h power
"gr.p pray speak [to] god r.p (god)
)"gr.p prayer
;(.= precious
;a:;x'f precise
rc."r.a prince
"b:;(.al:"l prospered
)u.d:)s:)si prow
"' push/send
;g:;x'f quiet
"e:;m reach
"p:)i:)"gxg read
")"eq reap
u.xd rear
y.)"g recording
"xsu remain
"r.p remember
"br.p remembered
"xu remove
"bxu removed
"buc(.w replaced
"u.xd:"s return
"bg:)s revealed
)"r.o ring
)=:)si river
':)=:)si river's
)=,:)si river(s) water [that moves with the] wind )si(wind)
'.ykr robot's
ykr robot(s) inorganic human kr (human) myameke
)v, rock
)n, rope
"bsi rose
"b'sr.e:)pr ruled
;u.l safe
(.;u.l safety ;u.l (safe)
"s:)s sail
)"e:)si sailcloth
"bs:)s sailed
)=v salt
t.d seed
"' sell
"m, separate
"bm separated
'ktu.v serpent's
c.7 seventh
"zm sever
"bzm severed
xc." shall-not
)'.o shape
"sef share
;y."zm sharp
;(.w:;y."zm sharper
"' shine
c." should
)'prt shoulder
"(.gi shout
;r.)xl:"= sick
)':"ph sight
;0g silent
"xs:;xi sit
4i2 sixteen
u.)hi sky
rykr slave person + robot ykr (robot)
")hi:)pi sleep
r.")hi)pi sleeper
ktu.v snake
)xx so
xx so
r."el soldier
)(.gi song
k.)(.gik.i songbird
;xmc soon
(.xr.h sorrow
u.)d source
"g, speak
(.;= speed
"bg spoke
)hi star
'.)hi star's
)hih starlight
c.d start
"xs stay
"ktu.v:"e steal
;xs still
)b, story
r.x:"le stranger person deprived of (the capacity) to love r.x (person deprived of)
"le (to love)
);)ov strength
"'sr.e:)"el strike
;)ov strong
"e:")m:)r suffer
"be:")m:)r suffered
u.ho sun
'.u.ho sun's
))i:;)xh sunset
)i:;)xh sunset
"xr.z surrender
"l, survive
y."zm sword
;)v:)n taut
)r.)=v tears
ur.p temple
"'sr.e:"t."l tend
)r.2 that object (near) you r.2 (you)
'.r.3 their
r.f2 them
ur.2 there
r.3 they
r."ktu.v"e thief
) thing
"p, think
)r.1 this object [near] me r.1 (I/me)
3 three
")n tie
)c, time
;x'.f tiny
"le:"= toast
'.n together
u.)xl tomb
c.1)c.o tomorrow
)"gr tongue
)"mqr tooth
'.s towards
r."xa traitor
t.i tree
;a, true
(.a truth
2c twice
"u.)so twist
2 two
;(.xr.h unhappy
;xr."le unkind
c.'.s until
i up ali
") use
(.= value
"sii vault
;'ex'e via/by/through in [and then] out [of] 'e(in) x'e(out)
)"g voice
"c.xd:")hi:)pi wake
"r.s walk
)vxs wall
"ex want
"bex wanted
;xvz warm
bj was
"ph watch
"bph watched
)=, water
'.= water's
r.f1 we/us first person many
':;x:)ov weaker
"sefl wed
"=:;(.xr.h weep
"r.f1gn welcome we say meet/join r.f1 (we)
u.;xi= well
?.) what
?c when
?u where
?r who
;"hs wide
)si wind movement [at] height
'.)si wind's
)"=:)l= wine
)k.i:)er wing
;p, wise
)hi:)pi wish
;"t."xl withering
u.'.e within
x' without
);"gxg word thing written ;"gxg (written)
y.s work
"gxg write action of speaking without speach "g (to speak)
;"gxg written quality (of which is) write "gxg (to write)
;xa wrong
r.2 you
'.r.2 your


Work on translating spoken Ancient is ongoing, so nearly everything in this section should be considered tentative and subject to change. If a translation is followed by a question mark, it is even more tentative.

Word/Morpheme Meaning Subwords Written
ali up i
aliya exalted up-life il
ang knowledge p
angset answer knowledge-speech pg
bo of, as, with '
bo-cataliti ifarali heaven's vault of-heaven vault/jump 'u.)hi "sii
boyaiki your of-you '.r.2
boyauki my of-me '.r.1
cat place u
catkis place of kings place-leader ur.a
catiokis place of princes place-future-leader urc."r.a
catya home place-life u.l
el land/moon/world/globe u.lo
elboreth moon of thieves globe-of-taking?
en hold? e
far move, go s
farwet traveller? visitor?
hua true? ;a,
huameke ?? true?-person
humenyaqi withering plant-negation-life ;"t."xl
i is/are (any present form of 'to be') j
ieni-hua good faith?
i-ensi want verb-have-negation "ex
ifarali vault/hopper verb-travel-up "sii
ki person/intelligent being r
Kibenya (water goddess) one who gives life?
kis king/leader/ruler person-truth r.a
malifar fall negation-go-up "sxi
meke person/people/human creature-intelligent being kr
mori near negation-apart/far ;xm,
mya machine/artificial/inorganic y
myameke robot inorganic-creature-person ykr
mykis better ?-leader
re thing, object )
refar path/route noun-motion )s,
reth take
salle sailor r.':)s:)s
set speak g
si not, no x
siang question negation-knowledge xp
siboar from negation-of/by-go x'.s
sifar wait negation-go "xs
sliset silence no-speech (;0g
ti light h
tifar door, entrance light-go ("hs
ya life l
yaiki you r.2
yauki me, I r.1