noun, plural lap·i·dar·ies.

Also lap·i·dist [lap-i-dist] /ˈlæp ɪ dɪst/. a worker who cuts, polishes, and engraves precious stones.
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.
the art of cutting, polishing, and engraving precious stones.
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/.


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. 2019

Examples from the Web for lapidary

Contemporary Examples of lapidary

  • The style is as lapidary as ever, but strangely the mood is lighter than before.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Tony Judt's Final Words

    John Gray

    November 23, 2010

  • Meanwhile, valuable moments in which someone could be chiming in with another “lapidary” are ticking away.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Franzen Frenzy!

    Lizzie Skurnick

    August 31, 2010

Historical Examples of lapidary

British Dictionary definitions for lapidary


noun plural -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 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 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