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In a word: Abecedarian

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word:

ABECEDARIAN

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Oh, what the writers of the Phoenician and Hebrew languages started when the put

aleph

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next to

beth

. That gave us the word

alphabet

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, eventually, after they turned into the Greek

alpha

and

beta

. And from the shorthand term for the alphabet,

the ABCs

, we get the splendid word

abecedarian

(pronounced ay-bee-see-DAR-uh-an). It's from the late Latin

abecedarius

.

It can mean having to do with the alphabet, a synonym for

alphabetical

. But it can also be a noun, for a beginner, a novice, a tyro—someone just learning, like a child beginning to grasp the ABCs.

Example:

From Cotton's translation of Montaigne: "There is an Abecedarian ignorance that precedes knowledge, and a Doctoral ignorance that comes after it."

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