Definition of lapidary in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlapɪd(ə)ri/


1Relating to the engraving, cutting, or polishing of stones and gems.
Example sentences
  • Meanwhile Mr Musonda said two local companies were interested in setting up lapidary centres for the cutting and polishing of gemstones at the exchange which would add value to the stones.
  • This switch of emphasis from lapidary to wheel-face cutting is probably attributable to recent technological improvements.
  • This attractive material is mostly consumed by the lapidary market for jewelry and decorative specimens for dressing windows and display cases.
1.1(Of language) elegant and concise, and therefore suitable for engraving on stone: a lapidary statement
More example sentences
  • While their lives overlapped for only one year, they were both masters of clear, witty insight, and they both wrote in a brilliant lapidary English.
  • To be successful, it had to be concise, dignified and durable; in short, lapidary (from the Latin lapis, stone).
  • Archeologist Timothy Taylor determines with lapidary concision that ‘There are no laws of human behavior.’

noun (plural lapidaries)

A person who cuts, polishes, or engraves gems.
Example sentences
  • Its streets were ‘handsome and broad, full of the shops of jewellers, goldsmiths, lapidaries, carpet weavers, silk mercers and other artisans.’
  • This type of high-grade is slabbed and sold to lapidaries for use in jewelry.
  • Association president George Shaba said in an interview that there were only four lapidaries in the country at present which were not enough to cut and polish all the gemstones that the industry produced.


Middle English (as a noun): from Latin lapidarius (in late Latin 'stonecutter'), from lapis, lapid- 'stone'. The adjective dates from the early 18th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: lapi|dary

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