Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The letters of a language, arranged in the order fixed by custom.
  • n. A system of characters or symbols representing sounds or things.
  • n. A set of basic parts or elements: "genetic markers . . . that contain repeated sequences of the DNA alphabet” ( Sandra Blakeslee).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The set of letters used when writing in a language.
  • n. A writing system in which letters represent phonemes. (Contrast e.g. logography, a writing system in which each character represents a word, and syllabary, in which each character represents a syllable.)
  • n. A typically finite set of distinguishable symbols.
  • n. One particular letter used in writing a language.
  • v. To designate by the letters of the alphabet; to arrange alphabetically.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The letters of a language arranged in the customary order; the series of letters or signs which form the elements of written language.
  • n. The simplest rudiments; elements.
  • transitive v. To designate by the letters of the alphabet; to arrange alphabetically.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To arrange in the order of an alphabet; mark by the letters of the alphabet.
  • n. The letters of a language arranged in the customary order; the series of letters or characters which form the elements of written language. See the articles on the different letters, A, B, C, etc.
  • n. Any series of characters intended to be used in writing instead of the usual letters, as the series of dashes, dots, etc., used in the transmission of telegraphic messages.
  • n. First elements; simplest rudiments: as, not to know the alphabet of a science.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the elementary stages of any subject (usually plural)
  • n. a character set that includes letters and is used to write a language

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English alphabete, from Latin alphabētum, from Greek alphabētos : alpha, alpha; see alpha + bēta, beta; see beta.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin alphabētum, from Ancient Greek ἀλφάβητος (alphabētos), from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha (Α) and beta (Β), from Phoenician aleph 𐤀 ("ox") and beth 𐤁 ("house"), so called because they were pictograms of those objects.

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Railroad telegraphers' shorthand for "likely to reach an agreement. --US Railway Association, Standard Cipher Code, 1906.

    January 19, 2013

  • its weird she found all these rocks to make the whole alphabet. haha. thx

    June 29, 2011

  • Awesome link, marky!

    June 29, 2011

  • Rock Alphabet

    June 28, 2011

  • Hollywood slang for ABC.

    August 26, 2009

  • ß

    October 20, 2008

  • Artificially inflating your comment count, Gangerh?

    October 20, 2008

  • ä

    October 18, 2008

  • z

    October 18, 2008

  • y

    October 18, 2008

  • x

    October 18, 2008

  • w

    October 18, 2008

  • v

    October 18, 2008

  • u

    October 18, 2008

  • t

    October 18, 2008

  • s

    October 18, 2008

  • r

    October 18, 2008

  • q

    October 18, 2008

  • p

    October 18, 2008

  • o

    October 18, 2008

  • n

    October 18, 2008

  • m

    October 18, 2008

  • l

    October 18, 2008

  • k

    October 18, 2008

  • j

    October 18, 2008

  • i

    October 18, 2008

  • h

    October 18, 2008

  • g

    October 18, 2008

  • f

    October 18, 2008

  • e

    October 18, 2008

  • d

    October 18, 2008

  • c

    October 18, 2008

  • b

    October 18, 2008

  • a

    October 18, 2008

  • Suggestion for a simpler alphabet.

    September 21, 2008

  • She, she, she. What she? The virgin at Hodges Figgis' window on Monday looking in for one of the alphabet books you were going to write. Keen glance you gave her.

    Joyce, Ulysses, 3

    December 30, 2006