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

If approved, the funds would go toward renovations and upgrades in existing schools across the district, the construction of four new schools and reinforcing security infrastructure at its elementary campuses. Krista Torralva, San Antonio Express-News, "Voters to decide Northside ISD bond, other elections Saturday," 4 May 2018 The contest, which had 13 contestants spanning from elementary through high school age, is a Rancho Bernardo Spirit of the Fourth fundraiser. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Rancho Bernardo, "Talented youth singers compete for RB Idol title, prizes," 13 June 2018 The Highland Park award rotates among elementary, middle school and high school teachers. Karen Berkowitz, chicagotribune.com, "Honored Northwood teacher stresses it's fine to be wrong," 11 May 2018 Teachers stood in parking lots at elementary, middle and high school across Lake in the morning and waited until students began arriving before going to their classrooms to start teaching. Martin E. Comas, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Lake teachers protest lack of new contract by skipping extra work done without pay," 13 Apr. 2018 Many speakers said the city should invest more in fixing the pipeline in elementary and middle schools rather than dismantle a specialized-high-school system that has nurtured 14 Nobel Prize winners. Leslie Brody, WSJ, "Parents at Packed Meeting Oppose Proposal to Change Admissions at City’s Elite Public High Schools," 4 Dec. 2018 The Barnstormers program has teams for students in elementary through high school, and the victims mentioned in the plea agreement ranged in age from 11 to 17. Ryan J. Foley, The Seattle Times, "Victims of Iowa coach can still come forward, agent says," 22 Oct. 2018 Many states also allow the use of these funds for tuition for elementary or secondary schools. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "House Republicans Unveil Tax Plan Focused on Savings, Retirement," 24 July 2018 Norrell said previous work in elementary and kindergarten to 12th-grade school districts, and as a liaison for the state for a variety of types of districts, helped prepare her to come to a large, unit school district like East Aurora. Sarah Freishtat, Aurora Beacon-News, "New superintendent picked for East Aurora School District," 30 May 2018

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

4 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


a strong desire or propensity

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