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

Township High School District 113 and three elementary feeder districts are exploring the idea of sharing a security director with more expertise in emergency preparations than the individual districts now can muster. Karen Berkowitz, chicagotribune.com, "4 school districts in Highland Park, Deerfield area consider collaboration on security, curriculum," 16 Sep. 2019 For example, most elementary grades hover around 20 students per class. Washington Post, "Teachers in Chicago inch closer to possible strike," 15 Sep. 2019 The smoothies will be made in the cafeteria and distributed to students in elementary grades one day a week. Denise Coffey, courant.com, "Thompson Fuels Up To Play 60," 10 Sep. 2019 Kristina Riley, who is white, was fired by the school’s board in July 2018, after about one year as principal of Wyatt Academy’s elementary grades. Meg Wingerter, The Denver Post, "Former Wyatt Academy principal sues Denver Public Schools, alleges she was fired her because of her race," 5 Sep. 2019 His adoptive parents, Samuel and Fannie (Katzelnick) Weitzman, who were elementary-school teachers, gave him the name Martin Lawrence Weitzman. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Martin Weitzman, Virtuoso Climate Change Economist, Dies at 77," 4 Sep. 2019 Pewaukee Schools Superintendent Mike Cady said three existing routes will be reorganized to add the new route to its list of elementary bus routes. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Pewaukee School District added a new bus route after parents raised concerns about overcrowding on social media," 4 Sep. 2019 Lopez, then a slight, isolated sixteen-year-old, begged his mother, an elementary-school teacher, to take him to see the film during its brief run in his home town of Panama City, in the Florida Panhandle. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "How Matthew Lopez Transformed “Howards End” Into an Epic Play About Gay Life," 2 Sep. 2019 Some Glendale Unified secondary students are struggling to find a sense of belonging and social awareness, while many of their elementary peers are performing better, according to results from a survey conducted last spring. Andrew J. Campa, Glendale News-Press, "Majority of Glendale Unified secondary students surveyed lack sense of belonging," 21 Aug. 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

21 Sep 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

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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