Word of the Day : March 6, 2011


noun LAP-uh-dair-ee


1 : a cutter, polisher, or engraver of precious stones usually other than diamonds

2 : the art of cutting gems

Did You Know?

The Latin word for "stone" is "lapis"; in that language, something "of or relating to stone" is described as "lapidarius." Gem cutters obviously relate well to stone, and during the 14th century someone decided that "lapidarius" should be related to them. The spelling of the term was modified, and it was borrowed into English as a name for both gem cutters and their art. Since the 1700s, "lapidary" has also been used as an adjective describing things having the elegance and precision of inscriptions carved on stone monuments or things relating to the art of gem cutting.


Grandfather had many hobbies, and was especially skilled in both woodworking and lapidary.

"White earned a doctorate degree in homeopathy and acupuncture at Open International University in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In 2000, though, she felt inclined to return home to Bradenton and renew the knowledge she learned from her father, Mikes Howes, a silversmith and lapidary." -- From an article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune (Florida), December 16, 2010

Word Family Quiz

"Dewlap," "dilapidate," "lapel," "laparoscope" -- which of these words descend from "lapis"? The answer is ...


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