lapis lazuli


la·​pis la·​zu·​li ˌla-pəs-ˈla-zə-lē How to pronounce lapis lazuli (audio)
: a semiprecious stone that is usually rich azure blue and is essentially a complex silicate often with spangles of pyrites

called also lapis

Examples of lapis lazuli in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But who was mining the lapis lazuli in Afghanistan and under what conditions? Teju Cole, New York Times, 25 May 2023 Tweed Étoile Diamond and sapphire stars glitter amongst a rich tapestry of lapis lazuli, onyx, and yellow sapphires in the Tweed Etoile designs. Sarah Royce-Greensill, Robb Report, 4 Aug. 2023 In his office at China Town, Yu showcases chunks of Afghan lapis lazuli and lithium — along with his political savvy. Gerry Shih, Washington Post, 24 May 2023 The Big Bang Set, in particular, includes Past Life (a bright lapis lazuli blue ), Brutal Honesty (a malachite green emerald green like Fox’s engagement ring), and Deep Breath, which is an opalescent top coat that gives your nails a shattered glass effect. Devon Abelman, Allure, 13 Dec. 2022 For example, gold and ivory came from Egypt while precious stones, such as blue lapis lazuli, dark red carnelian and blue-green turquoise, were imported from Afghanistan, India and Sinai respectively. Saman Shafiq, USA TODAY, 7 July 2023 Take this Gem Dior watch, an homage to couture and nature in lapis lazuli and malachite cut asymmetrically to evoke a swirl of fabric swatches pinned to a mood board. Leena Kim, Town & Country, 9 June 2023 During the European Middle Ages, Afghanistan was the only known source of the rare blue stone, lapis lazuli. Megan Schmidt, Discover Magazine, 10 Jan. 2019 Using less pigment would have been desirable centuries ago, when certain pigments — such as lapis lazuli, which was used to make ultramarine blue — were more expensive than gold, according to Ranquet. Jacopo Prisco, CNN, 28 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lapis lazuli.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Medieval Latin, from Latin lapis + Medieval Latin lazuli, genitive of lazulum lapis lazuli, from Arabic lāzaward — more at azure

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lapis lazuli was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near lapis lazuli

Cite this Entry

“Lapis lazuli.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

lapis lazuli

la·​pis la·​zu·​li ˌlap-ə-ˈslazh-ə-lē How to pronounce lapis lazuli (audio)
: a deep blue gemstone

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