[ el-uh-men-tuh-ree, -tree ]
/ ˌɛl əˈmɛn tə ri, -tri /


pertaining to or dealing with elements, rudiments, or first principles: an elementary grammar.
of or relating to an elementary school: elementary teachers.
of the nature of an ultimate constituent; simple or uncompounded.
pertaining to the four elements, earth, water, air, and fire, or to the great forces of nature; elemental.
Chemistry. of or noting one or more elements.

Origin of elementary

1400–50; late Middle English elementare (< Middle French elementaire) < Latin elementārius. See element, -ary
SYNONYMS FOR elementary
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.
Related forms
Can be confusedeleemosynary elementary (see synonym study at the current entry)elemental elementary
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for elementary

British Dictionary definitions for elementary


/ (ˌɛlɪˈmɛntərɪ, -trɪ) /


not difficult; simple; rudimentary
of or concerned with the first principles of a subject; introductory or fundamental
maths (of a function) having the form of an algebraic, exponential, trigonometric, or a logarithmic function, or any combination of these
chem another word for elemental (def. 5)
Derived Formselementarily, adverbelementariness, 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 elementary



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper