el·​e·​men·​ta·​ry | \ ˌe-lə-ˈmen-tə-rē How to pronounce elementary (audio) , -ˈmen-trē\

Definition of elementary

1a : of, relating to, or dealing with the simplest elements or principles of something
b : of or relating to an elementary school

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Other Words from elementary

elementarily \ ˌe-​lə-​ˌmen-​ˈter-​ə-​lē How to pronounce elementarily (audio) , -​ˈmen-​trə-​lē \ adverb
elementariness \ ˌe-​lə-​ˈmen-​tə-​rē-​nəs How to pronounce elementariness (audio) , -​ˈmen-​trē-​ \ noun

Examples of elementary in a Sentence

He is lacking even the most elementary notions of fairness. The researchers made an elementary error. He has an elementary understanding of calculus.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Zabn, who had won many academic awards as an elementary student in Syria, has big academic ambitions. BostonGlobe.com, "Immigrant students learn hard lessons about racism at a historically white high school in Maine," 14 Aug. 2019 The 4,000-plus elementary students brought their carefully nurtured edible plants to the Infield Farm on Plant*Grow*Eat Days to compete for ribbons. San Diego Union-Tribune, "North County School News, Aug. 8," 8 Aug. 2019 For those paying for meals, the cost for elementary students is $1.75 for breakfast and $2.80 for lunch. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "What you need to know before your JCPS student heads back to school," 7 Aug. 2019 Mississippi elementary students were in for a back-to-school treat on their first day Wednesday. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Dads line up to welcome elementary students to their first day of school," 7 Aug. 2019 After a gunman killed 20 elementary students and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, President Barack Obama pressured Congress to take action. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "America’s Most Powerful Gun Supporter," 6 Aug. 2019 The Tobin Center has previously partnered with SAISD and North East ISD to provide arts integration training for classroom teachers and to bring elementary students to professional performances, which Stephenson said will continue to expand. Liz Teitz, ExpressNews.com, "Professional artists will teach SAISD students under unique partnership," 30 July 2019 Overall, 229 cases were at the high school level and 225 involved elementary school, but because there are so many more elementary students, the allegation rate is about 2.5 times higher among high school students, according to the report. Hannah Leone, chicagotribune.com, "CPS investigating hundreds of sexual misconduct claims against staff, many involving security guards; 23 employees fired," 25 July 2019 Last year, elementary students in remote Zambia watched the World Cup thanks to this project. CNN, "How China is slowly expanding its power in Africa, one TV set at a time," 23 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elementary.' 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 elementary

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for elementary

Last Updated

24 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for elementary

The first known use of elementary was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for elementary



English Language Learners Definition of elementary

: basic and simple : involving the simplest parts of a subject
chiefly US : of or relating to elementary school


el·​e·​men·​ta·​ry | \ ˌe-lə-ˈmen-tə-rē How to pronounce elementary (audio) , -ˈmen-trē\

Kids Definition of elementary

1 : relating to the beginnings or simplest principles of a subject elementary arithmetic
2 : relating to or teaching the basic subjects of education elementary school

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Comments on elementary

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


to make or get by devious means

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