View synonyms for elementary


[ el-uh-men-tuh-ree, -tree ]


  1. pertaining to or dealing with elements, rudiments, or first principles:

    an elementary grammar.

  2. of or relating to an elementary school:

    elementary teachers.

  3. of the nature of an ultimate constituent; simple or uncompounded.
  4. pertaining to the four elements, earth, water, air, and fire, or to the great forces of nature; elemental.
  5. Chemistry. of or noting one or more elements.


/ -trɪ; ˌɛlɪˈmɛntərɪ /


  1. not difficult; simple; rudimentary
  2. of or concerned with the first principles of a subject; introductory or fundamental
  3. maths (of a function) having the form of an algebraic, exponential, trigonometric, or a logarithmic function, or any combination of these
  4. chem another word for elemental

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Derived Forms

  • ˌeleˈmentarily, adverb
  • ˌeleˈmentariness, noun
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Other Words From

  • el·e·men·tar·i·ly [el-, uh, -men-, ter, -, uh, -lee], adverb
  • ele·menta·ri·ness noun
  • nonel·e·menta·ry adjective
  • postel·e·menta·ry adjective
  • preel·e·menta·ry adjective
  • quasi-ele·menta·ry adjective
  • super·ele·menta·ry adjective
  • transel·e·menta·ry adjective
  • unel·e·menta·ry adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of elementary1

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English elementare (from Middle French elementaire ), from Latin elementārius. See element, -ary
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Synonym Study

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.
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Example Sentences

At least two Massachusetts districts have eliminated elementary PE altogether this year, according to the president of the state’s SHAPE chapter.

Despite the need, Pfizer is the only manufacturer whose pediatric vaccine trials are far enough along to potentially have data on elementary-school age children by the end of the summer.

In part of the city where demand was high for in-person learning, elementary students may be reporting to classrooms for only a few hours in the morning, with another group coming in the afternoon.

This elementary observation has deep connections to many areas of mathematics and yet is simple enough to be taught to kindergartners.

In the late 1960s, Ralph Dotinga – the son of Dutch immigrant dairy farmers – was a 6-foot-6 teacher at a Chula Vista elementary school.

Although Huckabee's condescending tone - like that of an elementary school history teacher - makes it difficult to take seriously.

And then I did teachers all throughout elementary school and junior high for my friends.

Supporters pointed to math and literacy gains, while critics noted that those improvements disappeared in elementary school.

A small-town Ohio elementary school teacher just racked up 25 charges on an otherwise clean record for allegedly raping her son.

Her lawyer said he thought she had been fired from her job, as a first-grade teacher at Cridersville Elementary.

He had no conception of the use of the other arms of the service, and never gained even the most elementary knowledge of strategy.

Have cabled a very elementary question: "Could not the Japanese bombs be copied in England?"

With them he is obliged to submit his bills to the elementary rules of arithmetic, and be careful that two and two make only four.

As time passed, this fund expanded considerably and was used to improve elementary education.

It is used in journals, memoirs, biographies, and many elementary histories.


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More About Elementary

What does elementary mean?

Elementary describes the basics or beginning steps of something. Elementary lessons in soccer, for example, might include how to dribble the ball.

The most common use of elementary in the US is in the phrase elementary school, the first few years of schooling, when the basics of reading, math, and other important subjects are taught. An elementary teacher is someone who teaches in elementary school and an elementary math book is a book with math lessons aimed at elementary schoolchildren.

Elementary can also be used in the context of chemical elements, which are a class of substances that cannot be broken down into simpler substances. In older scientific studies and belief systems, the Earth was believed to be elementarily comprised of four elements: earth, fire, water, and air.

Related to that, something that is elementary is simple or uncompounded.

Example: Times tables are simply elementary, so I do not need a calculator.

Where does elementary come from?

The first records of the term elementary come from the 1400s. It ultimately comes from the Latin elementārius, meaning “of one of the four elements.” The four elements were once considered the simple building blocks that make up nature.

Elementary is famous in popular culture as a supposed catchphrase for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. The phrase “It is elementary, my dear Watson,” was popularized by fans of the detective series but was never actually said by the character. Holmes did often use the word elementary, however,  when explaining his deductions. Doyle’s use of elementary makes his character appear smarter than the average person.

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What are some other forms related to elementary?

  • elementarily (adverb)
  • elementariness (noun)
  • nonelementary (adjective)
  • postelementary (adjective)

What are some synonyms for elementary?

What are some words that share a root or word element with elementary?

What are some words that often get used in discussing elementary?

How is elementary used in real life?

Elementary is usually used to describe something basic or to suggest something difficult is actually easy.

Try using elementary!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for elementary?

A. elemental
B. basic
C. simple
D. secondary




elementalelementary charge