See more synonyms for lapidary on
noun, plural lap·i·dar·ies.
  1. Also lap·i·dist [lap-i-dist] /ˈlæp ɪ dɪst/. a worker who cuts, polishes, and engraves precious stones.
  2. Also la·pid·ar·ist [luh-pid-er-ist] /ləˈpɪd ər ɪst/. an expert in precious stones and the art or techniques used in cutting and engraving them.
  3. the art of cutting, polishing, and engraving precious stones.
  4. an old book on the lore of gems.
adjective Also lap·i·dar·i·an [lap-i-dair-ee-uh n] /ˌlæp ɪˈdɛər i ən/.
  1. of or relating to the cutting or engraving of precious stones.
  2. characterized by an exactitude and extreme refinement that suggests gem cutting: a lapidary style; lapidary verse.
  3. 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lapidarian

Historical Examples of lapidarian

  • 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 plural -daries
  1. a person whose business is to cut, polish, set, or deal in gemstones
  1. of or relating to gemstones or the work of a lapidary
  2. Also: lapidarian (ˌlæpɪˈdɛərɪən) engraved, cut, or inscribed in a stone or gemstone
  3. of sufficiently high quality to be engraved on a stonea lapidary inscription
Derived Formslapidarian, adjective

Word Origin for lapidary

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

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