Definition of orthography
1a : the art of writing words with the proper letters according to standard usage the rules of English orthographyb : the representation of the sounds of a language by written or printed symbols
2 : a part of language study that deals with letters and spelling A student of orthography is likely to be a good speller.
orthography was our Word of the Day on 03/19/2014. Hear the podcast!
Recent Examples of orthography from the Web
Typically, Tolkien and his language-nerd adherents have developed the tongue’s grammar and orthography to almost headache-inducing levels.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'orthography'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word! That quote, ascribed to Andrew Jackson, might have been the motto of early English spelling. The concept of orthography (a term that derives from the Greek words orthos, meaning "right or true," and graphein, meaning "to write") was not something that really concerned people until the introduction of the printing press in England in the second half of the 15th century. From then on, English spelling became progressively more uniform and has remained fairly stable since the 1755 publication of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language (with the notable exception of certain spelling reforms, such as changing "musick" to "music," that were championed by Noah Webster).
Origin and Etymology of orthography
Middle English ortografie, from Anglo-French, from Latin orthographia, from Greek, from orth- + graphein to write — more at carve
First Known Use: 15th century
ORTHOGRAPHY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of orthography for English Language Learners
: the way in which the words of a language are spelled
Seen and Heard
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