to·​pi·​ary | \ ˈtō-pē-ˌer-ē How to pronounce topiary (audio) \
plural topiaries

Definition of topiary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a plant shaped by topiary art
b : topiary plants
2 : topiary art or gardening also : a topiary garden



Definition of topiary (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or being the practice or art of training, cutting, and trimming trees or shrubs into odd or ornamental shapes also : characterized by such work

Examples of topiary in a Sentence

Noun a garden featuring topiaries and fountains
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In neighboring Portsmouth, visit the Green Animals Topiary Garden (401-683-1267,, the oldest topiary garden in the United States. Alyssa Giacobbe,, "A plant lover’s guide to 16 gorgeous gardens and arboretums around New England," 4 Mar. 2021 His topiary has moved even closer to the entrance of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure ride. Dewayne Bevil,, "Disney: First look at Epcot’s flower and garden fest," 3 Mar. 2021 The garden is absurdly grandiose, containing along its quarter-mile axis a reflecting pool that takes three days to fill, a topiary garden around a large statue gilded in gold leaf, a monumental colonnade and the two-acre Sunken Gardens. Washington Post, "Biden put Wilmington on the map — but for garden lovers, it was already a destination," 28 Dec. 2020 Years ago, these yew shrubs were dishevelled & unshaped, so The Prince tasked his gardeners with creating their own intriguing topiary designs. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Highgrove House Has Been Prince Charles's Family Home Since 1980," 14 Nov. 2020 We're often asked about the whimsical & wonderful shapes of the topiary at Highgrove... Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Highgrove House Has Been Prince Charles's Family Home Since 1980," 14 Nov. 2020 The grounds of Levens Hall are ornamented by the world’s oldest topiary, first clipped into phantasmagorical shapes—peacocks and chess pieces, lollipops and lions—in 1694. Kieran Dodds; Text By Peter Ross, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Hedges Became the Unofficial Emblem of Great Britain," 22 Oct. 2020 Her selection—featuring gardens and country houses large and small, from the ancient to the lately established—is divided into 17 thematic sections, from topiary, formal and cottage gardens to decidedly postmodern... Barbara Paul Robinson, WSJ, "Spring Books: Gardening," 16 Apr. 2020 The models walked down the runway like human topiaries, the sounds of leaves brushing against their legs and rustling from their strides. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "Evaluating the environment — and ourselves — at the Comme des Garçons and Noir by Kei Ninomiya shows," 29 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Keep it simple with topiary boxwood in classic terra-cotta containers. Lauren Dunec Hoang, Better Homes & Gardens, "Expert Tips for Growing and Designing With Beautiful Boxwood," 25 Feb. 2021 Remy, the lead rat in the film, popped up in topiary form at Epcot this spring, but Disney hasn’t given a specific time frame for park guests to experience the new area or ride. Dewayne Bevil,, "Disney: Epcot hasn’t revved up ‘Ratatouille’ ride yet," 27 Nov. 2020 The posh space, 8,000 square feet, boasts sleek décor, including sparkling chandeliers, antique mirrors, topiary wallpaper, pops of green and brass, and rattan accents. Marcy De Luna, Chron, "The Sporting Club set to open on Washington Avenue," 21 Oct. 2020 This unforgettable escape includes a geometric maze of planter beds, spiraled trees, rows of dark blue and white lavender, several varieties of roses and fruit trees, and 60 juniper corkscrew topiary bushes. Kristin Braswell, Travel + Leisure, "6 Enchanting Secret Gardens Around the World," 12 Sep. 2020 In any case, topiary lends itself more to bold shapes than to intricate designs whose details are swallowed up between prunings. Washington Post, "Topiary tips: When you want shrubs to double as sculpture," 30 July 2019 His 1950s-era triplex is camouflaged by noirish vegetation — giant birds of paradise, fan palms, topiary bushes chain-sawed into vaguely menacing amoebic forms. Peter Haldeman, Los Angeles Times, "He may hate the word ‘buzz,’ but Los Angeles magazine editor Maer Roshan is creating it," 5 Sep. 2019 Most young topiary plants that are still in their formative stage need nothing more than frequent shearing or clipping off of the ends of stems in order to encourage dense branching. Washington Post, "Topiary tips: When you want shrubs to double as sculpture," 30 July 2019 Blue skies and balmy temperatures greeted attendees to the market, which featured produce, perennial flowers and topiary plants, among other offerings. Karie Angell Luc,, "Morton Grove farmers' market kicks off for the year," 11 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'topiary.' 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 topiary


1904, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1592, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for topiary


Latin topiarius, from topia ornamental gardening, irregular from Greek topos place

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Time Traveler for topiary

Time Traveler

The first known use of topiary was in 1592

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Last Updated

6 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Topiary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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English Language Learners Definition of topiary

: plants (such as trees and bushes) that are cut or grown into decorative shapes also : the art of shaping plants in this way
: a plant that is cut or grown into a decorative shape

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