alphabet

An alphabet is a set of all the letters in a written language. The letters in an alphabet represent the different sounds in that language. When you sing the A, B, C song, you are singing the English alphabet. Rock on.

If you grew up speaking English, you're most familiar with the English alphabet, which is based on the 26-letter Latin alphabet. Other languages, like German, use this same alphabet with a few added characters, like Ü and ß, to represent specific sounds in spoken German. The Greek root of alphabet is alphabetos, a combination of the first and second letters in the Greek alphabet, alpha, and beta.

Definitions of alphabet
  1. noun
    a character set that includes letters and is used to write a language
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    types:
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    Armenian, Armenian alphabet
    a writing system having an alphabet of 38 letters in which the Armenian language is written
    Latin alphabet, Roman alphabet
    the alphabet evolved by the ancient Romans which serves for writing most of the languages of western Europe
    Hebraic alphabet, Hebrew alphabet, Hebrew script
    a Semitic alphabet used since the 5th century BC for writing the Hebrew language (and later for writing Yiddish and Ladino)
    Greek alphabet
    the alphabet used by ancient Greeks
    Cyrillic, Cyrillic alphabet
    an alphabet derived from the Greek alphabet and used for writing Slavic languages (Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and some other Slavic languages)
    Arabic alphabet
    the alphabet of 28 characters derived from Aramaic and used for writing Arabic languages (and borrowed for writing Urdu)
    phonetic alphabet, sound alphabet
    an alphabet of characters intended to represent specific sounds of speech
    finger alphabet, manual alphabet
    an alphabet used by the deaf; letters are represented by finger positions
    visible speech
    a phonetic alphabet invented by Melville Bell in the 19th century
    type of:
    script
    a particular orthography or writing system
    character set
    an ordered list of characters that are used together in writing or printing
  2. noun
    the elementary stages of any subject (usually plural)
    synonyms: ABC, ABC's, ABCs, first principle, first rudiment, rudiment
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    type of:
    basic principle, basics, bedrock, fundamental principle, fundamentals
    principles from which other truths can be derived
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