Things that are elementary are simple or not very advanced, as in elementary school or Sherlock Holmes' famous line, "Elementary, my dear Watson!"

Remember elementary school? That's an earlier, less advanced type of school than middle and high school. Things that are elementary are simpler — easy enough for a first grader to handle. A puzzle that's a snap to solve could be called elementary. We can also say that something is elementary when it's a basic building block of something else: a good breakfast is elementary to healthy nutrition, for example.

Definitions of elementary
  1. adjective
    of or being the essential or basic part
    “an elementary need for love and nurturing”
    synonyms: elemental, primary
    pertaining to or constituting a base or basis
  2. adjective
    easy and not involved or complicated
    “an elementary problem in statistics”
    elementary, my dear Watson”
    synonyms: simple, uncomplicated, unproblematic
    posing no difficulty; requiring little effort
  3. adjective
    of or pertaining to or characteristic of elementary school or elementary education
    “the elementary grades”
    elementary teachers”
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week