Calligraphy on a folio from a copy of the Qur'an, Persia, 11th c
An example of calligraphy:
a signature


Borrowed from French calligraphie, from Ancient Greek καλλιγραφία (kalligraphía, literally pretty writing), from κάλλος (kállos, beauty) + γράφω (gráphō, to draw).


  • enPR: kə-lĭg'rə-fi, IPA(key): /kəˈlɪɡɹəfi/


calligraphy (countable and uncountable, plural calligraphies)

  1. (uncountable) The art or practice of writing letters and words in a decorative style; the letters and words so written.
    • 1981, Wayne E. Begley, 2: The Symbolic Role of Calligraphy on Three Imperial Mosques of Shāh Jahān, Joanna Gottfried Williams (editor), Kalādarśana: American Studies in the Art of India, page 7,
      This paper will explore the role of calligraphy on three royal mosques built during the reign of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658): [] .
    • 1987, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islamic Art and Spirituality[1], page 27:
      There is, however, a temporal separation between the earthly crystallization of Quranic calligraphy and the advent of the Quranic revelation.
    • 2004, Leslie Cabarga, Logo, Font & Lettering Bible[2], page 78:
      Calligraphy, however, can seem like a live concert recording with a shallow, raw sound and awkward "accidentals." But calligraphy has grown on me, and a distinction must be made between the calligraphy of high school diplomas and that of experts whose work is often breathtakingly beautiful.
  2. (countable) Any such style of decorative writing.
    • 2008 March 15, Roberta Smith, “Fair Goes From Feast to Tasting Menu”, in New York Times[3]:
      Around the corner, at Goedhuis, among more contemporary calligraphies, the fat and fuzzy brushwork of Zeng Yizeng (born 1973) stands out.
  3. (countable) A document written in decorative style.
    • 2004, Diana J, Mukpo, Carolyn Rose Gimian (editors), Chogyam Trungpa, The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Volume 7, page 169,
      Only a small number of Trungpa Rinpoche's calligraphies have been reproduced heretofore, some in very limited editions.


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