Word of the Day : January 1, 2014


adjective ay-bee-see-DAIR-ee-un


1 a : of or relating to the alphabet

b : alphabetically arranged

2 : rudimentary

Did You Know?

The history of "abecedarian" is as simple as ABC-literally. The term's Late Latin ancestor, "abecedarius" (which meant "of the alphabet"), was created as a combination of the letters A, B, C, and D, plus the adjective suffix "-arius"; you can hear the echo of that origin in the pronunciation of the English term (think "ABC-darian"). In its oldest documented English uses in the early 1600s, "abecedarian" was a noun meaning "one learning the rudiments of something"; it specifically referred to someone who was learning the alphabet. The adjective began appearing in English texts around 1665.


The children recited an abecedarian chant, beginning with "A is for apple" and ending with "Z is for zebra."

"'The Future of Terror' and 'Terror of the Future' are abecedarian poems, which is to say that they follow a particular scheme through the alphabet." - From a poetry review by David Orr in The New York Times, February 17, 2008

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "hibernaculum," our Word of the Day from December 6? The answer is …


play abecedarian word of the day

'Abecedarian' — Video Word of the Day 3/6/2019

adj. - of or relating to the alphabet


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