cacography

noun
ca·cog·ra·phy | \ka-ˈkä-grə-fē \

Definition of cacography 

1 : bad spelling — compare orthography

2 : bad handwriting — compare calligraphy

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cacography

cacographical \ˌka-kə-ˈgra-fi-kəl \ adjective

Did You Know?

In its earliest use in the 16th century, cacography meant not "incorrect spelling" but "a bad system of spelling." Today people worry about misspelling words, but back then there was little need for such concern. English spelling was far from standardized; people spelled words any way that made sense to them. Not every one was happy with such laxity, however, and over the coming centuries spelling reformers pressed for regularization. Some reformers thought spelling should reflect the etymological background of words; others thought words should be spelled the way they sound. And of course, everyone believed his or her own way of spelling was the best. Our present inconsistent system was arrived at over time. Today cacography usually suggests deviation from the established standards.

First Known Use of cacography

1574, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cacography

Share cacography

Listen to Our Podcast about cacography

Statistics for cacography

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cacography

The first known use of cacography was in 1574

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on cacography

See words that rhyme with cacography

Comments on cacography

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

WORD OF THE DAY

not any or not one

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!