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

His words also enhanced his masterwork, a dream book titled Nothing Sacred, featuring portraits of stars and accompanying anecdotes penned in his own wonderfully expressive calligraphy. Vogue, "Remembering Michael Vollbracht, A Designer Whose Vision Was Honed at the Movies," 12 June 2018 There also will be demonstrations and displays of traditional Japanese arts and traditions, including an Ikebana flower arrangement, a tea ceremony, origami, shodo calligraphy and bonsai. Houston Chronicle, "Family Fun: Art Car Parade and Houston Japan Festival," 11 Apr. 2018 Wilson flips through higher magnification lenses, then focuses on a series of tiny ridges of the frame until the remnants of their machining look like the brush strokes of Chinese calligraphy. Adam Fisher, WIRED, "A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora’s Box for DIY Guns," 10 July 2018 Behind it, a florid, calligraphy-like graffiti design on the wall appears to be growing out of the artwork, like weeds tangled up in a chain link fence. Deborah Vankin,, "Shinique Smith's 'Refuge' explores shelter, homelessness and the excess of our stuff," 13 June 2018 Playboy magazine covers playfully grace bathroom walls, calligraphy is sprinkled in random spots, quirky lamps cast shadows on high-personality wallpaper, and the most obscure books find a home on bookshelves—no small detail goes unnoticed. Jennifer Rice, Vogue, "This Florentine Hotel Has Secret Garden-Views of Europe’s Largest Private Green Space," 13 Apr. 2018 My Word for calligraphy on their wedding invitations, then of course on to Fisher’s Bakery for the perfect cake. Janet Kusterer, Howard County Times, "Flood doesn't diminish passion for Ellicott City [Mostly Main Street]," 14 June 2018 To mark the wedding, the pearl specialist is auctioning off a special pair of earrings inspired by Meghan Markle and her love of calligraphy. Monique Jessen,, "Royal Jewelers Celebrate Royal Wedding with Limited-Edition Collections: See the Photos!," 17 May 2018 On a low table near the front door, Hoksch has an antique calligraphy collection displayed, and the living room features many of her original pieces. Kadee Krieger,, "Shotgun House Tour opens the doors to eclectic beauties in Algiers Point," 9 May 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

16 Aug 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

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