English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From Latin elementārius (elementary), from elementum (one of the four elements of antiquity; fundamentals) + -ārius (adjective-forming suffix). Cognate with French élémentaire.

Pronunciation edit

Adjective edit

elementary (comparative more elementary, superlative most elementary)

  1. Relating to the basic, essential or fundamental part of something.
  2. Very simple.
  3. Relating to an elementary school.
  4. (physics) Relating to a subatomic particle.
    • 2012 March, Jeremy Bernstein, “A Palette of Particles”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 2, page 146:
      The physics of elementary particles in the 20th century was distinguished by the observation of particles whose existence had been predicted by theorists sometimes decades earlier.
  5. (mathematics, of an argument or proof) Straightforward, employing only basic techniques; not requiring substantial knowledge (of some particular domain, object, etc.).
    1. (number theory, of an argument or proof, mostly historical outside the phrase "Elementary number theory") Making no use of complex analysis.
  6. (archaic) Sublunary; not celestial; belonging to the sublunary sphere, to which the four classical elements (earth, air, fire and water) were confined; composed of or pertaining to these four elements.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Noun edit

elementary (plural elementaries)

  1. An elementary school.
    At Lakeside Elementary I learned to appreciate the forest.
  2. (mythology, mysticism) A supernatural being associated with the elements.
    • 1936, Rollo Ahmed, The Black Art, London: Long, page 45:
      The demon (or elementary) of the South-West wind was particularly dreaded, as being the gini of fever and madness.
    • 2003, H P Blavatsky, The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky, volume 1:
      [] the spiritual man is either translated like Enoch and Elias to the higher state, or falls down lower than an elementary again []
    • 2007, Gerald Massey, The Natural Genesis, page 332:
      But, in Africa these became definite in their Egyptian Types, by means of which we can follow their development from the elementaries of Chaos and Space into Celestial Intelligencers []

References edit