[ 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 confused

eleemosynary 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 Forms

elementarily, 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