acros·​tic ə-ˈkrȯ-stik How to pronounce acrostic (audio)
: a composition usually in verse in which sets of letters (such as the initial or final letters of the lines) taken in order form a word or phrase or a regular sequence of letters of the alphabet
acrostic adjective
or less commonly acrostical
acrostically adverb

Examples of acrostic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web All in all, every enjoyable aspect of solving an acrostic is well represented. Caitlin Lovinger, New York Times, 3 Mar. 2020 Each land contains a group of puzzles that range from crosswords and acrostics to cryptograms and engineering problems. Andrew Hetherington, Popular Mechanics, 12 Mar. 2020 An acrostic is typically a literary technique in which the first letters of the lines of a poem spell out a message., 6 Nov. 2019 The new acrostic is one of many scattered throughout Milton’s text. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, 19 Sep. 2019 Drew, a twentysomething educator living in Florida, did just that, charming his matches with poems that were also acrostics spelling out such Tinder-favorite pickup lines as SEND NUDES and WANNA SMASH. Casey Newton, The Verge, 11 Aug. 2018 Some contained complicated puzzles, acrostics, and rebuses (pictures that represent words or parts of words). Marilyn Yalom, Time, 14 Feb. 2018 Two: The acrostics are a distraction, overshadowing the letters’ primary message. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'acrostic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Middle French & Greek; Middle French acrostiche, borrowed from Greek akrostichís, from akro- acro- + -stichis, derivative of stíchos "line, row, rank," ablaut derivative of steíchein "to go in order, walk, march" — more at stair

First Known Use

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of acrostic was in 1530

Dictionary Entries Near acrostic

Cite this Entry

“Acrostic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


acros·​tic ə-ˈkrȯs-tik How to pronounce acrostic (audio)
: a poem in which a set of letters (as the first letter of the lines) taken in order form a word or phrase

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