Related formsel·e·men·tar·i·ly[el-uh-men-ter-uh-lee]/ˌɛl ə mɛnˈtɛr ə li/, adverbel·e·men·ta·ri·ness, nounnon·el·e·men·ta·ry, adjectivepost·el·e·men·ta·ry, adjectivepre·el·e·men·ta·ry, adjectivequa·si-el·e·men·ta·ry, adjectivesu·per·el·e·men·ta·ry, adjectivetrans·el·e·men·ta·ry, adjectiveun·el·e·men·ta·ry, adjectiveCan be confusedeleemosynaryelementary (see synonym study at the current entry)elementalelementary
1. Elementary,primary,rudimentary refer to what is basic and fundamental. Elementary refers to the introductory, simple, easy facts or parts of a subject that must necessarily be learned first in order to understand succeeding ones: elementary arithmetic.Primary may mean much the same as elementary; however, it usually emphasizes the idea of what comes first even more than that of simplicity: primary steps.Rudimentary applies to what is undeveloped or imperfect: a rudimentary form of government.
late 14c., "having the nature of one of the four elements," from Middle French elementaire and directly from Latin elementarius, from elementum (see element). Meaning "rudimentary" is from 1540s; meaning "simple" is from 1620s. Elementary school is 1841.