1. fancy penmanship, especially highly decorative handwriting, as with a great many flourishes: She appreciated the calligraphy of the 18th century.
  2. handwriting; penmanship.
  3. the art of writing beautifully: He studied calligraphy when he was a young man.
  4. a script, usually cursive, although sometimes angular, produced chiefly by brush, especially Chinese, Japanese, or Arabic writing of high aesthetic value.
  5. 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 formscal·lig·ra·pher, cal·lig·ra·phist, nouncal·li·graph·ic [kal-i-graf-ik] /ˌkæl ɪˈgræf ɪk/, cal·li·graph·i·cal, adjectivecal·li·graph·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for calligraphic

Historical Examples of calligraphic

  • 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.



British Dictionary definitions for calligraphic


  1. handwriting, esp beautiful handwriting considered as an artAlso called: chirography
Derived Formscalligrapher or calligraphist, nouncalligraphic (ˌkælɪˈɡræfɪk), adjectivecalligraphically, 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

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