orthography

noun
or·​thog·​ra·​phy | \ ȯr-ˈthä-grə-fē How to pronounce orthography (audio) \

Definition of orthography

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 : 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).

Examples of orthography in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The class is held on Wednesdays via Zoom and will be covering Moses-Columbian language history, phonetics/orthography, vocabulary, and grammar. oregonlive, 8 Oct. 2021 In 1870, reading English was required for Harvard, while Princeton required English grammar and orthography. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, 9 Aug. 2021 In 1870, reading English was required for Harvard, while Princeton required English grammar and orthography. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, 9 Aug. 2021 In 1870, reading English was required for Harvard, while Princeton required English grammar and orthography. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, 9 Aug. 2021 In 1870, reading English was required for Harvard, while Princeton required English grammar and orthography. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, 9 Aug. 2021 In 1870, reading English was required for Harvard, while Princeton required English grammar and orthography. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, 9 Aug. 2021 The monks struggled to fit Latin orthography onto some Anglo-Saxon sounds. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Aug. 2021 In 1870, reading English was required for Harvard, while Princeton required English grammar and orthography. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, 9 Aug. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of orthography

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for orthography

Middle English ortografie, from Anglo-French, from Latin orthographia, from Greek, from orth- + graphein to write — more at carve

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The first known use of orthography was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near orthography

orthographize

orthography

orthohexagonal axes

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Cite this Entry

“Orthography.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orthography. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about orthography

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