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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lapidary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Man's mind is like a diamond, and experience is the lapidary.

    William Shakespeare Samuel Levy Bensusan
  • I ought to have set it in silver, but was always afraid to trust it to a lapidary.

    Hortus Inclusus John Ruskin
  • The goldsmith and the lapidary would do well to seek in them models and instruction.

    The Insect Jules Michelet
  • Topazes are not scarce enough to be much valued by the lapidary.

  • A lapidary is a cutter, polisher, or engraver of precious stones.

  • The same kind of thing may be said of lapidary art, and we will not dwell on it in detail.

    Beauty and the Beast Stewart A. McDowall
  • Only what is necessary is inscribed here, in the lapidary style.

  • "I never overcharge, and I never depart from my figures," the lapidary answered.

    Erema R. D. Blackmore
British Dictionary definitions for lapidary


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 lapidary

"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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