Definition of alphabet in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈalfəbɛt/


1A set of letters or symbols in a fixed order used to represent the basic set of speech sounds of a language, especially the set of letters from A to Z: the first letter of the alphabet a phonetic alphabet
More example sentences
  • Thai is a tonal language, and its alphabet is derived from Mon and Khmer scripts.
  • The curve of the exterior wall is dressed in gray granite on which the alphabets, hieroglyphs and symbols of over 120 languages are etched.
  • We created fonts for the alphabets of both languages so that the letters were defined using the same basic components (vertical, diagonal, and horizontal lines).
ABC, letters;
symbols, icons, writing system, syllabary
rare signary
1.1The basic elements in a system which combine to form complex entities: DNA’s 4-letter alphabet
More example sentences
  • Thuriam's Medical coding consists of combination of numbers and alphabets adhering to different coding standards.
  • A four-letter alphabet might seem a rather limited system for writing complex messages.
  • Female nudes that appear repeatedly in his works, both paintings and sculptures, are not erotic; they are alphabets for a powerful political statement.

The origin of the alphabet goes back to the Phoenician system of the 2nd millennium bc, from which the modern Hebrew and Arabic systems are ultimately derived. The Greek alphabet, which emerged in 1000–900 bc, developed two branches, Cyrillic (which became the script of Russian) and Etruscan (from which derives the Roman alphabet used in the West).


Early 16th century: from late Latin alphabetum, from Greek alpha, bēta, the first two letters of the Greek alphabet.

  • The first two letters of the Greek alphabet are alpha and beta. In Greek these two letters were combined to make the word alphabētos, which was taken as a name for all 24 letters of the Greek alphabet as a whole, just as English-speaking children are taught their ABC.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: al¦pha|bet

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