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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Now Hao Huang, a mathematician at Emory University, has proved the sensitivity conjecture with an ingenious but elementary two-page argument about the combinatorics of points on cubes. Wired, "A Decades-Old Computer Science Puzzle Was Solved in Two Pages," 4 Aug. 2019 Performing on a nationally televised concert special is surely a thrill for anyone, let alone a group of elementary schoolers. Tyler Aquilina, EW.com, "Watch Carrie Underwood bring elementary school choir to tears with surprise appearance," 30 July 2019 Approximately one-third of the chairs in the school's elementary classrooms are wobble chairs, a flexible seating option meant to help students who are fidgety or need extra sensory stimulation. Brieanna J. Frank, azcentral, "'If I die tonight, I'll be dying happy': Gila River Indian Community celebrates first new school on reservation in a century," 27 July 2019 Calvary United Methodist Church is inviting elementary-aged children to attend a free Noah’s Ark, Vacation Bible School on Thursday, Aug. 1 and Friday, Aug. 2 from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. each day. baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Religion briefs: Car wash, outdoor movies and several Bible schools coming up," 26 July 2019 The demonstration, the company says, has proven the Starship's most elementary capabilities of liftoff and landing. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX Successfully Tests Hopper Prototype," 26 July 2019 District 97 has about 6,000 students in eight elementary and two middle schools in Oak Park. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, "Hinsdale District 86 hires new communications director and plans citizens committee for construction," 26 July 2019 Now Hao Huang, a mathematician at Emory University, has proved the sensitivity conjecture with an ingenious but elementary two-page argument about the combinatorics of points on cubes. Quanta Magazine, "Decades-Old Computer Science Conjecture Solved in Two Pages," 25 July 2019 Other than their bitter Champions League final defeat that season, Hitzfeld secured the Bundesliga crown with elementary precision, finishing 15 points clear of Bayer Leverkusen. SI.com, "Ottmar Hitzfeld: The Manager Who Won Absolutely Everything at Germany's 2 Biggest Clubs," 24 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.

See More

First Known Use of elementary

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about elementary

Statistics for elementary

Last Updated

10 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for elementary

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 shake or wave menacingly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!