In a written language, a logogram or logograph is a written character that represents a word or morpheme. Chinese characters (pronounced hanzi in Mandarin, kanji in Japanese, hanja in Korean and Hán tự in Vietnamese) are generally logograms, as are many hieroglyphic and cuneiform characters. The use of logograms in writing is called logography, and a writing system that is based on logograms is called a logography or logographic system. All known logographies have some phonetic component, generally based on the rebus principle.
Alphabets and syllabaries are distinct from logographies in that they use individual written characters to represent sounds directly. Such characters are called phonograms in linguistics. Unlike logograms, phonograms do not have any inherent meaning. Writing language in this way is called phonemic writing or orthographic writing.