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

Emotion hangs heavy in the air from the moment the lights go up on designer Samantha DiGeorge’s typical elementary-school classroom. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Slow to build, 'Gidion's Knot' pays off in tangle of wrenching emotions," 28 June 2018 While most of my elementary-school memories faded at the same rate as the quality of my cursive, this one had staying power. Kiera Carter, Marie Claire, "Why Is Women's Body Hair Still Offensive?," 8 June 2018 Plans to open cheder (elementary-schools) network are also planned. Elizabeth Kratz, Jewish Journal, "Viral video star is an Orthodox education pioneer," 4 June 2018 The research from Stanford's Education Data Archive is based on 300 million elementary-school test scores across more than 11,000 school districts. Wilborn P. Nobles Iii, NOLA.com, "Stanford finds Orleans schools saw 5 years of academic growth: report," 31 May 2018 Healthy harvest: Like the crops that elementary-school students raise in on-site living labs, so too, has Education Outside grown. Catherine Bigelow, San Francisco Chronicle, "Star-powered Part the Cloud raises $11 million for Alzheimer’s," 23 May 2018 His mother, Marie, was an elementary-school teacher. Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, "McMaster and Commander," 23 Apr. 2018 An elementary-school teacher who works three other jobs received a new air-conditioning unit on Friday afternoon at her Chandler home. Victor Ren, azcentral, "Cool runnings: Teacher who works 3 other jobs wins air-conditioner for Chandler home," 20 Apr. 2018 Charlotte’s elementary education and faith formation were guided by the Sisters of Providence. Sun-Sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 7/14," 14 July 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

24 Aug 2018

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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

: 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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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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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