Cursive script which developed out of hieratic and eventually replaced it, except for religious texts, from about the 26th Dynasty on. The Greek term means 'people's (writing)' and was first used by Herodotus. In his time Demotic was mainly used for administrative and legal purposes; hieroglyphs and hieratic were still used for religious texts. Demotic continued to develop over the centuries. Although the changes took place gradually, the following phases have been identified:

Demotic texts could be written on all kinds of surfaces. Alongside texts on papyrus there are ostraca and wooden labels, for example mummy tags. Demotic texts also appear on stelae, but only occasionally. One famous example is the Rosetta Stone, where Demotic appears alongside hieroglyphs and Greek. A number of Demotic signs were adopted into the Coptic alphabet for sounds for which the Greek alphabet had no signs.