Definition of lapis lazuli in English:

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lapis lazuli

Pronunciation: /ˌlapəs ˈlaz(y)əlē/ Pronunciation: /ˌlapəs ˈlaz(y)əlī/ Pronunciation: /ˌlapəs ˈlaZHəlī/
(also lapis)


1A bright blue metamorphic rock consisting largely of lazurite, used for decoration and in jewelry.
Example sentences
  • Agates were apparently highly valued by the ancient Egyptians for their lapidary use and were mounted into gold with other precious stones such as lapis and emeralds.
  • Garnet, emerald, jade, and lapis lazuli are among the gemstones created by metamorphic processes.
  • The occurrences, particularly the Tultuy and Malaya Bystraya deposits, are in metasomatized dolonfitic marbles and have been worked for ornamental and architectural lapis sporadically since the mid-1870s.
1.1A bright blue pigment formerly made by crushing this, being the original ultramarine.
Example sentences
  • Instead of using traditional Japanese mineral pigments such as azurite, lapis, malachite and cinnabar mixed with gelatin, he employed his familiar oil paints and European gilding methods.
  • Instead I pull out my knife to scrape away the paint of her robe, stripping the blue lapis that drapes her shoulders and arms, flaking gold trim into a plastic bag.
1.2The color ultramarine.
Example sentences
  • Donaldson's first job was for a private client who wanted her bathroom completely decorated in lapis lazuli.
  • These works ranged from swirling, meditative patterns of onyx and white to startling hues of lapis lazuli.
  • The little girls wore strings of lapis lazuli, and the little boys blue Chinese Wellies.


Late Middle English: from Latin lapis 'stone' and medieval Latin lazuli, genitive of lazulum, from Persian lāžward 'lapis lazuli'. Compare with azure.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lap·is laz·u·li

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