[ uh-kraw-stik, uh-kros-tik ]
/ əˈkrɔ stɪk, əˈkrɒs tɪk /


a series of lines or verses in which the first, last, or other particular letters when taken in order spell out a word, phrase, etc.


Also a·cros·ti·cal. of, like, or forming an acrostic.

Nearby words

  1. acrospire,
  2. acrospore,
  3. across,
  4. across the board,
  5. across-the-board,
  6. acroter,
  7. acroterion,
  8. acroterium,
  9. acrotic,
  10. acrotism

Origin of acrostic

1580–90; < Greek akrostichís, equivalent to akro- acro- + stích(os) stich1 + -is noun suffix

Related formsa·cros·ti·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for acrostical


/ (əˈkrɒstɪk) /


  1. a number of lines of writing, such as a poem, certain letters of which form a word, proverb, etc. A single acrostic is formed by the initial letters of the lines, a double acrostic by the initial and final letters, and a triple acrostic by the initial, middle, and final letters
  2. the word, proverb, etc, so formed
  3. (as modifier)an acrostic sonnet
Derived Formsacrostically, adverb

Word Origin for acrostic

C16: via French from Greek akrostikhis, from acro- + stikhos line of verse, stich

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 acrostical



short poem in which the initial letters of the lines, taken in order, spell a word or phrase, 1580s, from Medieval Latin acrostichis, from Greek akrostikhis, from akros "at the end, outermost" (see acrid) + stikhos "line of verse," literally "row" (see stair).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper