Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Abecedarian


Alternative forms[edit]


From Late Latin abecedarius (from the first four letters of the Latin alphabet + -arius). Equivalent to abecedary +‎ -an. Compare abecedary.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /eɪ.biː.siːˈdɛː.ɹɪ.ən/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌeɪ.biˌsiˈdɛ.ɹi.ən/, /ˌeɪ.biˌsiˈdæɹ.i.ən/


abecedarian (plural abecedarians)

Examples (rhetoric)

He knew the rhetorical devices, from abecedarian, battologia, and contentio, all the way to zeugma.

  1. Someone who is learning the alphabet. [Early 17th century.][1]
  2. An elementary student, a novice; one in the early steps of learning. [Early 17th century.][1]
  3. (archaic) Someone engaged in teaching the alphabet; an elementary teacher; one that teaches the methods and principles of learning.[2] [Early 17th century.][1]
  4. (rhetoric) A work which uses words or lines in alphabetical order.
    • 1996, Mediaevalia, volume 19, Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies of the State University of New York at Binghamton, page 133:
      This formal organization is most likely to create obscurity in such elaborate and artificial forms as: palindromes (words, phrases, or verses which read the same backward or forward), abecedarians (poems in which the initial letters of lines or stanzas are arranged to []) [].
    • 2007, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Music Collection of the National Library, →ISBN, page 590:
      Abecedarian verses are chanted stichoi/stichera verses in which the first letter of each verse follows an alphabetical order. [] The Amomos, an abecedarian, is the longest psalm in the Psalter [].
    • 2008, Erich J. Goller, Groovy, page 165:
      An Abecedarian is any poem constrained by alphabetical order.



abecedarian (comparative more abecedarian, superlative most abecedarian)

  1. (now rare) Pertaining to someone learning the alphabet or basic studies; elementary; rudimentary. [Mid 17th century.][1]
  2. Pertaining to the alphabet, or several alphabets. [Mid 17th century.][1]
    • 1971, Brian Lumley, Rising with Surtsey:
      The professor [...] had several other translations or feats of antiquarian deciphering to his credit. Indeed, I was extremely fortunate to find him in at the museum, for he planned to fly within the week to Peru where yet another task awaited his abecedarian talents.
  3. Arranged in an alphabetical manner. [Mid 17th century.][1]
  4. Relating to or resembling an abecedarius.

Derived terms[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors (2002), “abecedarian”, in The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 3.
  2. ^ Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 [1909], →ISBN), page 2