chres·​tom·​a·​thy | \ kre-ˈstä-mə-thē How to pronounce chrestomathy (audio) \
plural chrestomathies

Definition of chrestomathy

1 : a selection of passages used to help learn a language
2 : a volume of selected passages or stories of an author

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."

First Known Use of chrestomathy

1832, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chrestomathy

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chrestomathy

Listen to Our Podcast about chrestomathy

Statistics for chrestomathy

Time Traveler for chrestomathy

The first known use of chrestomathy was in 1832

See more words from the same year

Comments on chrestomathy

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


something of little or no value

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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