el·​e·​men·​ta·​ry | \ ˌe-lə-ˈmen-tə-rē , -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 , -​ˈmen-​trə-​lē \ adverb
elementariness \ ˌe-​lə-​ˈmen-​tə-​rē-​nəs , -​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

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 Part of that decision was based on Plunkett’s familiarity with advanced students in upper-elementary at a time when Hanson Lane needed to replace a retiring GATE teacher in a fifth- and sixth-grade combo class. Julie Gallant, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Teaching is a work of heart for Leanne Plunkett," 7 Mar. 2018 Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University who has studied homework for over 25 years, found that homework has little impact on elementary students. Tawnell D. Hobbs, WSJ, "Down With Homework, Say U.S. School Districts," 12 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. Fox News, "Victims of Iowa coach can still come forward, agent says," 23 Oct. 2018 On Fridays, Transdev's electric shuttle would take a group of elementary-aged children to school, then take them home later in the day. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Feds shut down self-driving school bus pilot in Florida," 22 Oct. 2018 Kahn, who asks the kinds of elementary, open-ended questions his viewer is probably wondering, serves as an appealingly unabashed guide to a world that can often seem frosty or inaccessible. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "The Price of Everything,," 18 Oct. 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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Last Updated

26 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for elementary

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

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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 , -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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