Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One who cuts, polishes, or engraves gems.
  • noun A dealer in precious or semiprecious stones.
  • adjective Of or relating to precious stones or the art of working with them.
  • adjective Engraved in stone.
  • adjective Marked by conciseness, precision, or refinement of expression.
  • adjective Sharply or finely delineated.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Pertaining to a stone or stones; having relation to stones: as, the lapidary bee (which see, below).
  • Pertaining or relating to, or used in, the working of stone or stones, especially of fine stones or gems, as cutting, polishing, engraving, etc.: as, the lapidary art; a lapidary wheel.
  • Engraved or inscribed upon stone: as, lapidary verses.
  • Of or pertaining to inscriptions cut in stone, or to any formal inscriptions; monumental: as, the lapidary style of composition or of lettering.
  • A lapidary wheel.
  • the slicer, a thin iron wheel edged with diamond-dust, used like a saw;
  • the lap or mill, used for grinding and polishing, usually working horizontally and performing its function by means of its upper face or disk, which is faced with metal, wood, leather, or other material, and is strewn with polishing or abrading powder of different degrees of hardness and fineness.
  • noun A stone-cutter; one who cuts and prepares and inscribes tombstones.
  • noun Specifically, a workman in fine and hard stones; one who does any kind of skilled work on precious or semi-precious stones, as cutting, polishing, engraving, the formation of useful or decorative articles, etc.
  • noun A virtuoso of lapidary work; a lapidarist.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An artificer who cuts, polishes, and engraves precious stones; hence, a dealer in precious stones.
  • noun A virtuoso skilled in gems or precious stones; a connoisseur of lapidary work.
  • noun a machine consisting essentially of a revolving lap on a vertical spindle, used by a lapidary for grinding and polishing.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to the art of cutting stones, or engraving on stones, either gems or monuments.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to monumental inscriptions.
  • adjective that style which is proper for monumental and other inscriptions; terse; sententious.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A person who cuts, polishes, engraves, or deals in gems.
  • noun archaic  a treatise on precious stones
  • adjective Pertaining to gems and precious stones, or the art of working them.
  • adjective Suitable for inscriptions; efficient, stately, concise.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective of or relating to precious stones or the art of working with them
  • noun a skilled worker who cuts and engraves precious stones
  • noun an expert on precious stones and the art of cutting and engraving them

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English lapidarie, from Old French lapidaire, from Latin lapidārius, from lapis, lapid-, stone.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin lapidārius ("of stones") (later used as a noun ‘stone-cutter’), from lapis ("stone").

Examples

Comments

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  • NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. lap·i·dar·ies

    1. One who cuts, polishes, or engraves gems. 2. A dealer in precious or semiprecious stones.

    ADJECTIVE: 1. Of or relating to precious stones or the art of working with them. 2a. Engraved in stone. b. Marked by conciseness, precision, or refinement of expression: lapidary prose. c. Sharply or finely delineated: a face with lapidary features.

    ETYMOLOGY: Middle English lapidarie, from Old French lapidaire, from Latin lapidrius, from lapis, lapid-, stone.

    May 19, 2007

  • "To add his own contribution to the pleasures of the repast, M. de Norpois entertained us with a number of the stories with which he was in the habit of regaling his diplomatic colleagues, quoting now some ludicrous period uttered by a politician notorious for long sentences packed with incoherent images, now some lapidary epigram of a diplomat sparkling with Attic salt."

    -- Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, Revised by D.J. Enright, p 40 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    March 5, 2008

  • another definition: characteristic of or suitable for monumental inscriptions (lapidary phrasing)

    August 25, 2008

  • ...I did not neglect to know the truth respecting the value of my ring, and showed it to a lapidary, who rated it at three ducats.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 1 ch. 17

    September 12, 2008

  • I Am Lapidary But Not Eristic When I Use Big Words

    February 16, 2009

  • Dr. Samuel Johnson, according to James Boswell, his biographer, said "In lapidary inscriptions a man is not upon oath."

    June 10, 2009