rudiment

Rudiment, usually used in the plural, means the basics. If you know the alphabet, you have the rudiments of reading at your disposal.

You might learn the rudiments of cooking from your mother, but you won't become an expert until you spend time in your own kitchen. In biology, the word rudiment means an undeveloped part of an organ or limb, like you would find in an embryo or fetus.

Definitions of rudiment
  1. noun
    the elementary stages of any subject (usually plural)
    “he mastered only the rudiments of geometry”
    synonyms: ABC, ABC's, ABCs, alphabet, first principle, first rudiment
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    type of:
    basic principle, basics, bedrock, fundamental principle, fundamentals
    principles from which other truths can be derived
  2. noun
    the remains of a body part that was functional at an earlier stage of life
    “Meckel's diverticulum is the rudiment of the embryonic yolk sac”
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    type of:
    body part
    any part of an organism such as an organ or extremity
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