three R's

plural noun

: the fundamentals taught in elementary school
especially : reading, writing, and arithmetic
: the fundamental skills in a field of endeavor

Word History


from the facetiously used phrase reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic

First Known Use

1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of three R's was in 1828

Dictionary Entries Near three R's

Cite this Entry

“Three R's.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

three R's

noun plural
: the basic subjects (as reading, writing, arithmetic) taught in elementary school
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