Say abecedarian and you will notice something peculiar — it sounds like a-b-c-d, and that’s not a coincidence. It means either a novice — a person just learning the ABCs of something — or it can describe something arranged alphabetically.

The word comes from the Latin abecedarius, which means "alphabetical," based on the names of the first letters of the Latin alphabet. The word alphabetical, too, is based on the names of the first letters of the alphabet — but the Greek alphabet, which begins "alpha, beta." Abecedarian can also mean rudimentary. Sherlock Holmes might have said, “Abecedarian, my dear Watson.”

Definitions of abecedarian

adj alphabetically arranged (as for beginning readers)

alphabetic, alphabetical
arranged in order according to the alphabet

n a novice learning the rudiments of some subject

Type of:
beginner, initiate, novice, tiro, tyro
someone new to a field or activity

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.