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 Theft, Detroit Road On Jan. 23 a theft was reported from the Rocky River Med Spa after two topiaries and sign were discovered missing. cleveland, "Painter threatens contractor at country club: Rocky River Police Blotter," 31 Jan. 2020 NBCUniversal even went as far to construct a giant topiary in the shape of peacock outside of 30 Rockefeller Plaza for the occasion. Frank Pallotta, CNN, "NBC is debuting Peacock, its new streaming service. Can it stand out among its rivals?," 16 Jan. 2020 In front of the on-site Starbucks—located inside Salesforce Tower and marked, confusingly, with Salesforce branding, as the Trailblazer Cafe—a topiary bear stood in a fixed salute. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, "The Floating Utopia of Salesforce Park," 11 Dec. 2019 Notably, the east colonnade, which last year became the source of internet memes when Melania's crimson topiary tree decorations were revealed, is decked out in silver stars and lit glass panels decorated with snowy Christmas tree scenes. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Melania Trump Has Unveiled the 2019 White House Christmas Decorations," 2 Dec. 2019 Puckett said the Fitzgerald topiary could even include an apartment for overnight rentals and an observation deck. USA TODAY, "Baby elephant, cougars, dognapper, burning treehouse: News from around our 50 states," 24 Oct. 2019 It can be grown in a container and is ideal for topiary. Pam Peirce,, "You can grow your own bay laurel, and now’s a great time to plant one," 15 Nov. 2019 Actresses Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson and Yalitza Aparicio were among the stars who turned out for Kors’ show on the banks of Brooklyn in a converted greenhouse that kept its topiary feel with a plethora of trees that decorated the cavernous space. Washington Post, "Michael Kors pays tribute to American style on 9/11," 14 Sep. 2019 Stuart loves tiny boxwood topiaries with little colored flowers or herbs. Melissa Rayworth,, "Simple can be gorgeous when setting a holiday table," 7 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 The craft of topiary dates to at least ancient Rome. Cynthia Kling, WSJ, "Laid-Back Topiary for Your Winter Windowsill," 12 Oct. 2018 There's even a topiary version of Tick-Tock the Crocodile, for lovers of Disney's 1953 animated film. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "The Dallas Arboretum Uses 100,000 Pumpkins to Build Its Annual Fall Village," 12 Oct. 2018 Proud parades of topiary yews, surely once immaculate, have gone slightly shaggy. David Usborne, Town & Country, "The Mysterious Case of the Parnham House Fire," 29 May 2018 From $3,440 a week; FOR MERLOT AND MAILLOT LOVERS Château Mireille The pool at this 18th-century bastide in Provence overlooks a formal topiary garden that’s as stately as the manor’s four floors filled with antiques and artwork. Donna Bulseco, WSJ, "6 Vacation Villas With Enviable Pools," 15 May 2018

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

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The first known use of topiary was in 1592

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Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Topiary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for topiary


How to pronounce topiary (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on topiary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with topiary Encyclopedia article about topiary

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