Meaning of ALPHABET in English


I. ˈalfəˌbet, ˈau̇f- also -_bə̇t; often -d.+V noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English alphabete, from Late Latin alphabetum, irregular from Greek alphabētos, from alpha + bēta, the first two letters of the Greek alphabet — more at beta


a. : any particular set of letters with which one or more languages are written ; especially : such a set of letters arranged in a customary order — see letter

b. : any set of characters with which one or more languages are written whether these characters are letters (sense 1a), the signs of a syllabary, or other basic units of writing

c. : a set of the letters of an alphabet written, engraved, printed, or otherwise represented in some particular form or style, usually one in which the characters are considered to have an artistic uniformity with one another

a script alphabet

a book printed in an old style alphabet

d. : the set of speech sounds that any particular language employs — not in technical use

e. : a series of words, paragraphs, stanzas of verse, or other units of composition the successive members of which have as their initial letters the letters of the alphabet in order or which deal with topics of which the initial letters of the names correspond to the letters of the alphabet in order ; specifically : an alphabetic acrostic poem

f. : the alphabetic system of writing as distinguished from syllabic, ideographic, and other systems — used with the

the birthplace of the alphabet

g. : a series of words, phrases, names, or other units arranged in alphabetical order

the entries in this dictionary are all in one alphabet

h. : any system of signs or signals, visual, auditory, or tactile, that serve as equivalents for the usual written letters of an alphabet

the alphabet used in spelling words for the deaf

the dots and dashes of the telegraphic alphabet

i. : a particular set of names used to designate the various letters of an alphabet

the pronouncing alphabet used in civil aviation

j. cryptology : a set of one-to-one equivalences between a sequence of plaintext letters and the sequence of their cipher substitutes ; sometimes : one of these sequences — called also substitution alphabet ; see vigenère cipher

2. : the simplest rudiments : elements , abc

the very alphabet of our law — T.B.Macaulay

3. obsolete

a. : an index alphabetically arranged

b. : a complete or long series


II. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

: alphabetize

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.