Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Word of the Day, from M-W: abecedarian \ay-bee-see-DAIR-ee-un\ (adjective)
*1 a : of or relating to the alphabet b : alphabetically arranged; 2 : rudimentary

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

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 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.

No comments: