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[kuh-lig-ruh-fee] /kəˈlɪg rə fi/
fancy penmanship, especially highly decorative handwriting, as with a great many flourishes:
She appreciated the calligraphy of the 18th century.
handwriting; penmanship.
the art of writing beautifully:
He studied calligraphy when he was a young man.
a script, usually cursive, although sometimes angular, produced chiefly by brush, especially Chinese, Japanese, or Arabic writing of high aesthetic value.
Fine Arts. line or a group of lines either derived from or resembling letter forms and characterized by qualities usually associated with cursive writing, especially that produced with a brush or pen.
Origin of calligraphy
First recorded in 1605-15, calligraphy is from the Greek word kalligraphía beautiful writing. See calli-, -graphy
Related forms
calligrapher, calligraphist, noun
[kal-i-graf-ik] /ˌkæl ɪˈgræf ɪk/ (Show IPA),
calligraphical, adjective
calligraphically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for calligraphic
Historical Examples
  • His writing was a marvel of calligraphic art; he himself, a curiosity.

  • He tells us how he collected his vellum treasures—his "crackling tomes" so rich in illuminations and calligraphic art!

    Bibliomania in the Middle Ages Frederick Somner Merryweather
  • The volume, as a specimen of calligraphic art, reflects honor upon the age, and is right worthy of Lady Hilda's monastery.

    Bibliomania in the Middle Ages Frederick Somner Merryweather
  • The calligraphic school of Winchester achieves magnificent results.

  • Reputed for high literary, calligraphic, and artistic skill, he also possessed a profound knowledge of politics.

    Japan Various
  • They extend the experience of writing, especially in calligraphic exercise, in the experience conveyed.

  • It was the demand for copies of this that exhausted Caxton's calligraphic patience, and led to his employment of a printer.

  • These letters displayed so much linguistic and calligraphic skill that the vizir Ibn-Alarif became anxious to know the writer.

  • By means of his clever pen and calligraphic skill he won his way into the Chinese capital.

    The Religions of Japan William Elliot Griffis
  • The whole history of this calligraphic contest, written by Bale himself, is preserved amongst the Harl.

British Dictionary definitions for calligraphic


handwriting, esp beautiful handwriting considered as an art Also called chirography
Derived Forms
calligrapher, calligraphist, noun
calligraphic (ˌkælɪˈɡræfɪk) adjective
calligraphically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for calligraphic



1610s, from Greek kaligraphia, from kallos "beauty" + graphein "to write" (see -graphy). Related: Calligraphic. The usual comb. form in Greek was kalli- "beautiful, fine, happy, favorable;" kalo- was a later, rarer alternative form.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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