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noun, plural or·thog·ra·phies for 3–5.
  1. the art of writing words with the proper letters, according to accepted usage; correct spelling.
  2. the part of language study concerned with letters and spelling.
  3. a method of spelling, as by the use of an alphabet or other system of symbols; spelling.
  4. a system of such symbols: Missionaries provided the first orthography for the language.
  5. an orthographic projection, or an elevation drawn by means of it.

Origin of orthography

1425–75; late Middle English ortografye < Latin orthographia correct writing, orthogonal projection < Greek orthographía. See ortho-, -graphy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for orthography

Historical Examples

  • The orthography of his glossary differs considerably from the orthography of his text.



  • Will they forego the facts of an epoch, for the orthography of a syllable?

  • The orthography and pointing of the stops, are precisely as printed in the card.

  • Then there were treatises on grammar, on orthography, and a series of works on mathematics.

  • Sussex men are curiously intolerant of the phonetics of orthography.

British Dictionary definitions for orthography


noun plural -phies
  1. a writing system
    1. spelling considered to be correct
    2. the principles underlying spelling
  2. the study of spelling
  3. orthographic projection
Derived Formsorthographer or orthographist, 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

Word Origin and History for orthography


"correct or proper spelling," mid-15c., ortographie, from Middle French orthographie (Old French ortografie, 13c.), from Latin orthographia, from Greek orthographia "correct writing," from orthos "correct" (see ortho-) + root of graphein "to write" (see -graphy). Related: Orthographer.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper