(of a plant) clipped or trimmed into fantastic shapes.
of or relating to such trimming.

noun, plural to·pi·ar·ies.

topiary work; the topiary art.
a garden containing such work.

Origin of topiary

1585–95; < Latin topiārius pertaining to landscape-gardening or to ornamental gardens, equivalent to topi(a) (plural) artificial landscape (< Greek tópia (singular topion), diminutive of tópos place) + -ārius -ary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for topiary

Contemporary Examples of topiary

Historical Examples of topiary

  • An affected admiration for Dutch topiary also became a fashion.

  • May I add that poodles ought not to be shaved with a safety-razor, but should be trimmed by a topiary expert?

  • Unlike those found in the gardens of Colonial days, they should be carefully clipped, sometimes for topiary effects.

    Garden Ornaments

    Mary H. Northend

  • Through the great number of formal gardens laid out within a few years in America, the topiary art has had a certain revival.

    Old-Time Gardens

    Alice Morse Earle

  • There were bushes exhibiting fantastic examples of the topiary art, and here, too, was a sun-dial.

    Bat Wing

    Sax Rohmer

British Dictionary definitions for topiary



of, relating to, or characterized by the trimming or training of trees or bushes into artificial decorative animal, geometric, or other shapes


plural -aries
  1. topiary work
  2. a topiary garden
the art of topiary
Derived Formstopiarian (ˌtəʊpɪˈɛərɪən), adjectivetopiarist, noun

Word Origin for topiary

C16: from French topiaire, from Latin topia decorative garden work, from Greek topion little place, from topos place
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 topiary

1590s, from Latin topiarius "of or pertaining to ornamental gardening," from topia "ornamental gardening," from Greek topia, plural of topion, originally "a field," diminutive of topos "place" (see topos). The noun is first recorded 1908, from the adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper