orthography

play
noun or·thog·ra·phy \ȯr-ˈthä-grə-fē\

Definition of orthography

  1. 1a :  the art of writing words with the proper letters according to standard usage <the rules of English orthography>b :  the representation of the sounds of a language by written or printed symbols

  2. 2 :  a part of language study that deals with letters and spelling <A student of orthography is likely to be a good speller.>

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

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


ORTHOGRAPHY Defined for English Language Learners

orthography

play
noun or·thog·ra·phy \ȯr-ˈthä-grə-fē\

Definition of orthography for English Language Learners

  • : the way in which the words of a language are spelled



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up orthography? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a principle or belief held by a group

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ