Origin of elemental

From the Medieval Latin word elementālis, dating back to 1485–95. See element, -al1
Related formsel·e·men·tal·ly, adverbnon·el·e·men·tal, adjectivenon·el·e·men·tal·ly, adverbpost·el·e·men·tal, adjectivepre·el·e·men·tal, adjectivesub·el·e·men·tal, adjectivesub·el·e·men·tal·ly, adverbtrans·el·e·men·tal, adjectiveun·el·e·men·tal, adjectiveun·el·e·men·tal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedelemental elementary
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for elemental

elementary, constituent, primitive, primordial, rudimental

Examples from the Web for elemental

Contemporary Examples of elemental

Historical Examples of elemental

  • Good Indian laughed at her, a laugh of pure, elemental joy in life and in love.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • But along the edge of the oven were graven the signs of the eight elemental forces.

  • The majesty of Fact is on their side, and the elemental forces of Nature are working for them.

    The Origin of Species

    Thomas H. Huxley

  • But the simple measure of nationality is severely natural and elemental.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • And with this certainty surely we have all that is necessary for an elemental religion.

British Dictionary definitions for elemental



fundamental; basic; primalthe elemental needs of man
motivated by or symbolic of primitive and powerful natural forces or passionselemental 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 Formselementally, adverbelementalism, 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 elemental

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