alphabet

noun

al·​pha·​bet ˈal-fə-ˌbet How to pronounce alphabet (audio)
-bət
1
a
: 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
2
alphabet table

Example Sentences

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 The comb inscription is direct evidence for the use of the alphabet in daily activities some 3,700 years ago. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 10 Nov. 2022 Both Week 579, in the election season of 2004, and Week 984, in 2012, asked for sentences (etc.) whose words started with consecutive letters of the alphabet, but not necessarily all 26. Pat Myers, Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2022 This magnetic fishing set doubles as a fun way to learn colors and letters, as each of the 26 fish has a letter of the alphabet on it. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, 17 Oct. 2022 This game challenges you to list one Thanksgiving item for each letter of the alphabet — but the trick is to think of a different item than everyone else. Corinne Sullivan, Woman's Day, 11 Oct. 2022 There are 28 listed in the indictment and identified by letters of the alphabet. Casey Grove, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Oct. 2022 They are named after letters of the alphabet, starting with A — the highest risk zone. Claire Thornton, USA TODAY, 28 Sep. 2022 Using the Greek alphabet was itself retired after 2020. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2022 Documents available for research include Latter-day Saint scripture, meeting minutes, Deseret News articles, children’s readers and diaries kept by missionaries who transcribed the Hopi language using the specialized alphabet. Kaitlyn Bancroft, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 May 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near alphabet

Cite this Entry

“Alphabet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alphabet. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

alphabet

noun

al·​pha·​bet ˈal-fə-ˌbet How to pronounce alphabet (audio)
-bət
1
: the letters of a language arranged in their usual order
2
: a system of signs or signals that serve as equivalents for letters

More from Merriam-Webster on alphabet

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