Origin of three R's
Related Words for three r'sfoundation, nitty-gritty, principles, elements, basal, beginning, bottom, central, elemental, elementary, essential, first, introductory, original, primitive, principal, radical, rudimentary, simple, ultimate
The fundamentals of education, as in It's a terrible school; the children are not even taught the three R's. It is widely believed that Sir William Curtis, an alderman who became Lord Mayor of London, once presented a toast to the three R's—reading, riting, and rithmetic—thereby betraying his illiteracy. In any event, the term was picked up by others and so used from the early 1800s on.