noun chres·tom·a·thy \kre-ˈstä-mə-thē\

Definition of chrestomathy



  1. 1 :  a selection of passages used to help learn a language

  2. 2 :  a volume of selected passages or stories of an author

chrestomathy was our Word of the Day on 11/22/2010. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Provided that nothing like useful knowledge could be gained from them, provided they were all story and no reflection, she had never any objection to books at all. Jane Austen’s Catherine in Northanger Abbey, whose aversion to learning is pretty well summed up in the preceding sentence, would likely object to a chrestomathy that turned out to be a compilation of excerpts from ancient philosophical writings. She would probably be oblivious of, and indifferent to, the fact that the Greeks had the usefulness of knowledge in mind when they created chrestomathy from their adjective chrēstos, which means "useful," and the verb manthanein, which means "to learn."

Origin and Etymology of chrestomathy

New Latin chrestomathia, from Greek chrēstomatheia, from chrēstos useful + manthanein to learn — more at mathematical

First Known Use: 1832

Seen and Heard

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


feeling or affected by lethargy

Get Word of the Day daily email!