cal·​lig·​ra·​phy kə-ˈli-grə-fē How to pronounce calligraphy (audio)
: artistic, stylized, or elegant handwriting or lettering
: the art of producing such writing
: an ornamental line in drawing or painting
calligraphic adjective
calligraphically adverb

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.

Example Sentences

she specializes in scrollwork with beautiful calligraphy
Recent Examples on the Web Sending handmade Christmas cards written in calligraphy is a task that Johnson had not taken on in about 10 years. Scott Talley,, 20 Dec. 2022 My parents always made Christmas special for me and my sister, complete with an annual trip to a Christmas tree farm and handwritten letters from Santa (in calligraphy, no less!). L'oreal Thompson Payton, Fortune, 8 Dec. 2022 Children here make gingerbread cookies with Mrs. Claus, enroll in Elf School or take a calligraphy class and compose their Christmas wish lists with a traditional quill. CNN, 3 Dec. 2022 This can include setting the tables with one of the official White House china services, asking the calligraphy staff to prepare the invitations, using the ballroom chairs, or having the Marine Band perform. Roxanne Roberts, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2022 Here’s a liquid liner from Tom Ford that has a calligraphy tip on one end and a brush tip on the other for seamless standout eye looks. Iman Balagam, Harper's BAZAAR, 20 Oct. 2022 The village also gets about €70,000 a year in public money to organize cultural events such as calligraphy classes, theater performances and conferences. New York Times, 21 Apr. 2022 Invitation — intended to evoke the feeling of a calligraphy note — features open-pore Khaya wood with dual laser etching, the first automotive application of that detailed technique. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, 4 Mar. 2022 Since then, the researchers have discovered intimate items within the collection, such as ebony dominoes, a calligraphy brush, and chopsticks made from bamboo and redwood. Bridget Alex, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of calligraphy was in 1590

Dictionary Entries Near calligraphy

Cite this Entry

“Calligraphy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


cal·​lig·​ra·​phy kə-ˈlig-rə-fē How to pronounce calligraphy (audio)
: beautiful handwriting
: the art of producing such handwriting

More from Merriam-Webster on calligraphy

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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