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[el-uh-men-tl] /ˌɛl əˈmɛn tl/
of the nature of an ultimate constituent; simple; uncompounded.
pertaining to rudiments or first principles.
starkly simple, primitive, or basic:
a spare, elemental prose style; hate, lust, and other elemental emotions.
pertaining to the agencies, forces, or phenomena of physical nature:
elemental gods.
comparable to the great forces of nature, as in power or magnitude:
elemental grandeur.
of, relating to, or of the nature of the four elements, earth, water, air, and fire, or of any one of them.
pertaining to chemical elements.
Origin of elemental
From the Medieval Latin word elementālis, dating back to 1485-95. See element, -al1
Related forms
elementally, adverb
nonelemental, adjective
nonelementally, adverb
postelemental, adjective
preelemental, adjective
subelemental, adjective
subelementally, adverb
transelemental, adjective
unelemental, adjective
unelementally, adverb
Can be confused
elemental, elementary. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for elementally
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This was not the first undertaking in which their gifts, as elementally different as fire and water, had worked in conjunction.

  • So elementally brutal was this man that he pounded his legs until they were black and blue, before feeling returned to them.

    Deadly City Paul W. Fairman
  • She had not yet met a man with the poetical twist in the brain to prize her elementally.

  • He could be as elementally raw at times as a screaming savage; and at other times as delicate as a maid, as subtle as a Spaniard.

  • But there are certain things that are elementally funny, that make all people laugh who have any laughter in their souls.

  • When he had a certain man in rifle-range, the rest would be elementally simple.

    The Code of the Mountains Charles Neville Buck
  • He had been a pillar of strength, elementally fit to combat all the elements, else she had perished.

    The Covered Wagon Emerson Hough
British Dictionary definitions for elementally


fundamental; basic; primal: the elemental needs of man
motivated by or symbolic of primitive and powerful natural forces or passions: elemental rites of worship
of or relating to earth, air, water, and fire considered as elements
of or relating to atmospheric forces, esp wind, rain, and cold
of, relating to, or denoting a chemical element
(rare) a spirit or force that is said to appear in physical form
Derived Forms
elementally, adverb
elementalism, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for elementally



late 15c., "pertaining to the four elements," from Medieval Latin elementalis, from Latin elementum (see element). Meaning "simple, uncomplicated" is from 1550s; that of "relating to first principles" is from 1570s. The noun in the occult sense is from 1877.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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