al·pha·bet | \ ˈal-fə-ˌbet , -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

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

The coral-hued ambrosia was her tactic for getting me to recite the alphabet and my numbers. Liz Rubin, San Francisco Chronicle, "The lasting lessons of childhood influences," 25 May 2018 That’s when Molly, who has not yet learned the alphabet, used the FaceTime feature on her father’s iPhone to call her mom. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Virginia girl, 3, uses FaceTime to save father's life after he suffers stroke," 12 July 2018 The alphabet, like the sonnet, necessitates at least some shaping and pruning. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, "The Politics and Play of Terrance Hayes," 24 June 2018 Students taught many different subjects including the alphabet, clothes, and food to the intrigued kindergarteners. Charlene Paparizos,, "Chagrin Falls Middle School Students Bring French Culture to Kindergarten Classroom and More: Community Voices," 26 Apr. 2018 The 20 pictographs in his drawing look like Korean alphabet letters; the artist himself likens them to a Rorschach test. Leah Garchik, San Francisco Chronicle, "Are weirdos an endangered species in San Francisco?," 19 Feb. 2018 Yiddish, which is based on German with elements taken from Hebrew and other languages and is written with the Hebrew alphabet, was once spoken by millions of Eastern European Jews but fell victim both to the Holocaust and the pull of assimilation. Karen Matthews, The Seattle Times, "It takes chutzpah: Yiddish version of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’," 3 July 2018 Google Translate Is Your Friend Been sleeping on learning the Cyrillic alphabet? Megan Spurrell, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Lessons Learned at the Russia World Cup," 27 June 2018 The collection features a geometric alphabet that was first designed by David and used to decorate everything from umbrellas to stationary and scarves. Emily Selter, Town & Country, "India Hicks’s Newest Jewelry Collection Was Inspired by Her Father," 4 Apr. 2017

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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Phrases Related to alphabet

the Roman alphabet

Statistics for alphabet

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for alphabet

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

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More Definitions for alphabet



English Language Learners Definition of alphabet

: the letters of a language arranged in their usual order


al·pha·bet | \ ˈal-fə-ˌbet \

Kids Definition of alphabet

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

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Comments on alphabet

What made you want to look up alphabet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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