cal·​lig·​ra·​phy | \ kə-ˈli-grə-fē How to pronounce calligraphy (audio) \

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 How to pronounce calligraphy (audio) \ adjective
calligraphically \ ˌka-​lə-​ˈgra-​fi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce calligraphy (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for calligraphy



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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 This two-part exhibition showcasing contemporary Chinese calligraphy is on view through Dec. 13 (Part 2: Jan. 29 through May 26). Los Angeles Times, 11 Sep. 2021 With time, Arabic calligraphy helped me to reconcile my French and my Tunisian identity. Sarah Khan, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Sep. 2021 This free museum, first established in 1952, is focused on pre-modern Chinese art, including bronzes, ceramics, calligraphy, jade, and more. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 16 Aug. 2021 Some were adept at that most canonical of Chinese skills, calligraphy, and there are records of their teacher’s severity to them and of their own critical judgments. Colin Thubron, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2021 Many became patrons of Uyghur cultural projects, including calligraphy competitions and art exhibitions. Eva Xiao, WSJ, 13 July 2021 Each day, someone picks up his son from school and takes him to a facility for courses in table tennis, recreational mathematics, calligraphy and building with Legos. New York Times, 30 July 2021 Herschberg points out that Steve Jobs famously sat in on calligraphy classes. Robert Farrington, Forbes, 6 July 2021 Toko Shinoda, a Japanese artist whose work fused calligraphy and Abstract Expressionism in elegant ways, is dead at 107. Los Angeles Times, 6 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for calligraphy

Time Traveler

The first known use of calligraphy was in 1590

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Last Updated

27 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Calligraphy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce calligraphy (audio) \

Kids Definition of calligraphy

1 : beautiful artistic handwriting
2 : the art of producing beautiful handwriting

More from Merriam-Webster on calligraphy

Nglish: Translation of calligraphy for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about calligraphy


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