11.09.2005

Word of the day: Abecedary

I was reading the New York Times this morning and I discovered a cool word that I'd never heard before: abecedary. The New York Times defines it as "the letters of the alphabet written out in their traditional sequence," and the article is about the 10th century BCE abecedary they just found in Tel Zayit, Israel. It's the oldest reliably-dated abecedary found to date, which is pretty cool in and of itself. But back to the word! I found these other definitions of abecedary online:
  1. Noun. (Rare): A primer; the first principle or rudiment of anything. (open-dictionary.com)
  2. n. book arranged in alphabetical order; elementary text-book. abecedarian, n. member of 16th-century German Anabaptist sect who refused to learn to read. a. alphabetically arranged. (Dictionary of Difficult Words)
  3. Main Entry: 1abe·ce·dar·i·an
    Pronunciation: "A-bE-(")sE-'der-E-&n
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English abecedary, from Medieval Latin abecedarium alphabet, from Late Latin, neuter of abecedarius of the alphabet, from the letters a + b + c + d: one learning the rudiments of something (as the alphabet) (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)
  4. abecedary
    Abecedarian \A`be*ce*da"ri*an\, Abecedary \A`be*ce"da*ry\, a. Pertaining to, or formed by, the letters of the alphabet; alphabetic; hence, rudimentary.
    Abecedarian psalms
    , hymns, etc., compositions in which (like the 119th psalm in Hebrew) distinct portions or verses commence with successive letters of the alphabet. --Hook. (Dictionary.com)
I like the word because its origin is obvious (abecedary), once you know its meaning. And because it reminds me of Big Bird's Alphabet Song.

No comments: