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From Latin elementārius (elementary), from elementum (one of the four elements of antiquity; fundamentals) + -ārius (adjective-forming suffix). Cognate with French élémentaire.


elementary (comparative more elementary, superlative most elementary)

  1. Relating to the basic, essential or fundamental part of something.
  2. Relating to an elementary school.
  3. (physics) Relating to a subatomic particle.
    • 2012 March 1, Jeremy Bernstein, “A Palette of Particles”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 2, page 146:
      The physics of elementary particles in the 20th century was distinguished by the observation of particles whose existence had been predicted by theorists sometimes decades earlier.
  4. (archaic) Sublunary; not celestial; belonging to the sublunary sphere, to which the four classical elements (earth, air, fire and water) were confined; composed of or pertaining to these four elements.

Derived terms[edit]