al·​pha·​bet | \ ˈal-fə-ˌbet How to pronounce alphabet (audio) , -bət \

Definition of alphabet

1a : a set of letters or other characters with which one or more languages are written especially if arranged in a customary order
b : a system of signs or signals that serve as equivalents for letters
alphabet table

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Examples of alphabet in a Sentence

The Roman alphabet begins with “A” and ends with “Z.” you need to learn the alphabet of genealogy before you can move on to more advanced study
Recent Examples on the Web Once Wilfred is used, forecasters will use the Greek alphabet for naming storms this season. Carlie Wells,, "Hurricane Center: Tropical depression has 60% chance of forming in Gulf of Mexico," 16 Sep. 2020 The Greek alphabet has been used for storm names once before, in 2005, according to the hurricane center. Dallas News, "There are currently 7 active tropical systems over sea, but Texas is spared for now," 14 Sep. 2020 There are just three more storm names left for the 2020 season – Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred – before the Greek alphabet will be enabled. Nancy Niles, USA TODAY, "Tropical depression likely to become 'near hurricane' strength as it moves across Florida into Gulf of Mexico," 13 Sep. 2020 The storm name list ends with Wilfred, and forecasters might be forced to go to the Greek alphabet for storm names. Leigh Morgan, al, "Tropical depression could form in Gulf soon, and that’s not all," 11 Sep. 2020 She's turned a bedroom in her home into a classroom, complete with an alphabet chart, and set up a workstation for each child. Star Tribune, "Schools that are mostly Black, Latino favor starting online," 11 Sep. 2020 The four bases of virus RNA are written in an alphabet composed of nucleotide chemicals: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and uracil (U). Robert Lee Hotz, WSJ, "‘Really Diabolical’: Inside the Coronavirus That Outsmarted Science," 7 Sep. 2020 To recreate the look, use small alphabet cookie cutters ($10, Amazon) or freehand the letters yourself. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, "10 Gorgeous Pie Ideas to Steal for Thanksgiving Dinner," 3 Sep. 2020 Each episode will be 15 minutes and will cover a range of kid-friendly topics including vehicles, birthdays, and learning the alphabet. Kelsey Hurwitz, Woman's Day, "'Sesame Street' Is Launching A Podcast, and It'll Be Your Pre-Schooler's New Favorite Show," 2 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alphabet.' 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 alphabet

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for alphabet

Middle English alphabete, from Late Latin alphabetum, from Greek alphabētos, from alpha + bēta beta

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Time Traveler for alphabet

Time Traveler

The first known use of alphabet was in the 15th century

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Statistics for alphabet

Last Updated

20 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Alphabet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for alphabet


How to pronounce alphabet (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of alphabet

: the letters of a language arranged in their usual order


al·​pha·​bet | \ ˈal-fə-ˌbet How to pronounce alphabet (audio) \

Kids Definition of alphabet

: the letters used in writing a language arranged in their regular order

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