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[lap-i-der-ee] /ˈlæp ɪˌdɛr i/
noun, plural lapidaries.
Also, lapidist
[lap-i-dist] /ˈlæp ɪ dɪst/ (Show IPA)
. a worker who cuts, polishes, and engraves precious stones.
Also, lapidarist
[luh-pid-er-ist] /ləˈpɪd ər ɪst/ (Show IPA)
. an expert in precious stones and the art or techniques used in cutting and engraving them.
the art of cutting, polishing, and engraving precious stones.
an old book on the lore of gems.
adjective, Also, lapidarian
[lap-i-dair-ee-uh n] /ˌlæp ɪˈdɛər i ən/ (Show IPA)
of or relating to the cutting or engraving of precious stones.
characterized by an exactitude and extreme refinement that suggests gem cutting:
a lapidary style; lapidary verse.
of, relating to, or suggestive of inscriptions on stone monuments.
Origin of lapidary
1325-75; Middle English lapidarie (noun) < Latin lapidārius of stone (adj.), stone-cutter (noun), equivalent to lapid- (stem of lapis) stone + -ārius -ary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lapidarian
Historical Examples
  • The following, from the lapidarian Gallery, indicates the trade of a carpenter.

    The Catacombs of Rome William Henry Withrow
  • The accompanying figure is from the lapidarian Gallery of the Vatican.

    The Catacombs of Rome William Henry Withrow
  • Few English writers have so lapidarian a style of writing as Mrs. Craigie, and few such a capacity for writing epigrams.

    The Spirit of the Ghetto Hutchins Hapgood
British Dictionary definitions for lapidarian


noun (pl) -daries
a person whose business is to cut, polish, set, or deal in gemstones
of or relating to gemstones or the work of a lapidary
Also lapidarian (ˌlæpɪˈdɛərɪən). engraved, cut, or inscribed in a stone or gemstone
of sufficiently high quality to be engraved on a stone: a lapidary inscription
Derived Forms
lapidarian, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin lapidārius, from lapid-, lapis stone
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 lapidarian



"one skilled in working with precious stones," late 14c., from Old French lapidaire (12c.), from Latin lapidarius "stonecutter," originally an adjective "of or working with stone," from lapis (genitive lapidis) "stone." Meaning "a treatise on precious stones" is late 14c. Related: Lapidarist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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