cal·​lig·​ra·​phy | \-fē \

Definition of calligraphy 

1a : artistic, stylized, or elegant handwriting or lettering

b : the art of producing such writing

3 : an ornamental line in drawing or painting

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Other Words from calligraphy

calligraphic \ˌka-​lə-​ˈgra-​fik \ adjective
calligraphically \-​fi-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for calligraphy


handwriting, longhand, manuscript, penmanship, script


print, type, typewriting

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Did You Know?

Kalli- is a Greek root meaning "beautiful", and "beautiful" in the case of calligraphy means artistic, stylized, and elegant. Calligraphy has existed in many cultures, including Indian, Persian, and Islamic cultures; Arabic puts a particularly high value on beautiful script, and in East Asia calligraphy has long been considered a major art. Calligraphers in the West use pens with wide nibs, with which they produce strokes of widely differing width within a single letter.

Examples of calligraphy in a Sentence

she specializes in scrollwork with beautiful calligraphy

Recent Examples on the Web

From traditional woodblock prints and calligraphy to manga and digital butterflies, there's something for every taste. The Seattle Times, "From ancient to post-modern: Get art smart in Tokyo," 22 Oct. 2018 At a Halloween party, however, calligraphy lends a mysterious, eery atmosphere to your place settings. Elle Decor Editors, ELLE Decor, "20 Halloween Party Ideas So Sophisticated They’ll Scare You," 18 Oct. 2018 The palette’s baby pink packaging coordinates with the shadow brush and boasts an adorable pumpkin motif, while the striking black calligraphy on the gloss gives off major Halloweentown vibes. Tess Garcia, Allure, "How to Shop Too Faced's Limited-Edition Pumpkin Spice Makeup Collection," 1 Oct. 2018 Chinese painting springs from calligraphy; motion, action, and line are paramount. Cate Mcquaid,, "Cao Jun: the dance and the chance of it," 28 Mar. 2018 Traditional Japanese art forms include sculpture, ink painting and calligraphy, woodblock prints, origami and ceramics. The Seattle Times, "From ancient to post-modern: Get art smart in Tokyo," 22 Oct. 2018 Prince William and Kate Middleton's Monogram The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's cipher features a curly gray C, for Catherine, over a black W, both written in calligraphy. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Monogram Compares to Kate Middleton and Prince William's," 31 July 2018 Image Perhaps not surprising in a country renowned for calligraphy, several of these artists (Mr. Shiraga included) probably did more with Jackson Pollock’s allover compositions and innovative drip techniques than their American counterparts. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "Japanese Gutai in the 1950s: Fast and Fearless," 14 June 2018 Many of the items feature patterns inspired by Islamic art mosaics mixed with Arabic calligraphy that were designed by Peter Gould, an artist and entrepreneur from Australia who converted to Islam in 2002. Pam Kragen,, "Fashion company makes modesty a mission," 22 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'calligraphy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of calligraphy

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for calligraphy

French or Greek; French calligraphie, from Greek kalligraphia, from kalli- beautiful (from kallos beauty) + -graphia -graphy

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Statistics for calligraphy

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for calligraphy

The first known use of calligraphy was in 1590

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More Definitions for calligraphy



English Language Learners Definition of calligraphy

: the art of making beautiful handwriting


cal·​li·​gra·​phy | \kə-ˈli-grə-fē \

Kids Definition of calligraphy

1 : beautiful artistic handwriting

2 : the art of producing beautiful handwriting

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Comments on calligraphy

What made you want to look up calligraphy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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