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


a garden featuring topiaries and fountains

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In addition to the whimsical topiary figures, the nearly one-acre gated site has a swimming pool with a waterfall and a brook, an outdoor kitchen, a circular drive and an abundance of mature trees. Lauren Beale,, "Montecito getaway once owned by actor Rob Lowe seeks $4.395 million," 1 July 2019 Local artist Edna Harper has turned her front yard into a topiary. Martina Schimitschek, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mission Hills: Stately homes and low-key commercial area define distinguished neighborhood," 30 June 2019 The room is used for different activities like propagating plants, starting seeds, growing topiaries and working with succulents. Jodi Torpey, The Denver Post, "The healing gardens at Craig Hospital offer respite and therapy," 17 June 2019 Indeed, what was once a stark-white corner storefront is now ornamented with boxwood topiaries and a zig-zag pattern—borrowed from the regimental tie of the Royal Artillery—covers the exterior awnings and the interior floors and walls. Zachary Weiss, Vogue, "At the New Rowing Blazers Flagship, a Champagne-Fueled House Party Raged," 3 May 2019 Other topiaries occupying prime Epcot real estate include Donald Duck and nephews in gardening mode right behind Spaceship Earth. Dewayne Bevil,, "First look: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival for 2018," 28 Feb. 2018 Most striking, perhaps, are the crimson topiary trees (pictured above), which currently line the east colonnade. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Melania Trump Just Unveiled This Year's White House Christmas Decorations," 26 Nov. 2018 Denise Fasanello, a New York florist, interprets topiary even more loosely, winding button ferns or creeping fig around a round, metal armature to create a leafy, obstreperous ball. Cynthia Kling, WSJ, "Laid-Back Topiary for Your Winter Windowsill," 12 Oct. 2018 Idea #6: Bring steps to new heights with lines of topiaries. Sarah Bray, House Beautiful, "10 Breathtaking Gardens," 12 May 2014

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 There’s also a playground, a yew maze, Rose Garden, and topiary chess set. Ellen Scolnic,, "Finding Anne Boleyn (and Henry VIII) at Hever Castle," 9 Feb. 2018 Private gates open to a boxwood topiary garden, and through the front door, a checkerboard marble foyer leads into more than 10,000 square feet of living space. Jack Flemming,, "Sale of Smokey Robinson's former estate was Encino's chart-topper of 2017," 4 Jan. 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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Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for topiary

The first known use of topiary was in 1592

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on topiary

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

Comments on topiary

What made you want to look up topiary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a small bunch of flowers

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