acrostic


acrostic
acrostically, adv.
/euh kraw"stik, euh kros"tik/, n.
1. a series of lines or verses in which the first, last, or other particular letters when taken in order spell out a word, phrase, etc.
adj.
2. Also, acrostical. of, like, or forming an acrostic.
[1580-90; < Gk akrostichís, equiv. to akro- ACRO- + stích(os) STICH + -is n. suffix]

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Originally, a short verse composition, constructed so that one or more sets of letters (such as the initial, middle, or final letters of the lines), taken consecutively, form words.

An acrostic in which the initial letters form the alphabet is called an abecedarius. Ancient Greek and Latin writers, medieval monks, and Renaissance poets are among those who devised acrostics. Today the term is used for a type of word puzzle utilizing the acrostic principle. A popular form is double acrostics, puzzles constructed so that the middle or last, as well as initial, letters of lines may form words.

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verse
      short verse composition, so constructed that the initial letters of the lines, taken consecutively, form words. The term is derived from the Greek words akros, “at the end,” and stichos,“line,” or “verse.”

      The word was first applied to the prophecies of the Erythraean Sibyl, which were written on leaves and arranged so that the initial letters of the leaves always formed a word. Acrostics were common among the Greeks of the Alexandrine period, as well as with the Latin writers Ennius and Plautus, many of the arguments of whose plays were written with acrostics on their respective titles. Medieval monks were also fond of acrostics, as were the poets of the Middle High German and Italian Renaissance periods.

      The term acrostic is also applied to alphabetical (abecedarius), or abecedarian, verses, in which each line after the first, which begins with a, uses a succeeding letter of the alphabet. Examples of these are some of the Psalms (in Hebrew), such as Psalms 25 and 34, where successive verses begin with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order.

      Double acrostics are puzzles constructed so that not only the initial letters of the lines but in some cases also the middle or last letters form words. In the United States, the Double Crostic puzzle, devised by Elizabeth Kingsley for the Saturday Review in 1934, had an acrostic in the answers to the clues giving the author and title of a literary work; the letters, keyed by number to blanks like those of a crossword puzzle, spelled out a quotation.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Acrostic — • A poem the initial or final letters of whose verses form certain words or sentences Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Acrostic     Acrostic      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Acrostic — A*cros tic, n. [Gr. ?; ? extreme + ? order, line, verse.] 1. A composition, usually in verse, in which the first or the last letters of the lines, or certain other letters, taken in order, form a name, word, phrase, or motto. [1913 Webster] 2. A… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • acrostic — [ə krôs′tik, əkräs′tik] n. [Gr akrostichos < akros (see ACRO ) + stichos, line of verse] a verse or arrangement of words in which certain letters in each line, such as the first or last, when taken in order spell out a word, motto, etc. adj.… …   English World dictionary

  • Acrostic — A*cros tic, Acrostical A*cros tic*al, n. Pertaining to, or characterized by, acrostics. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • acrostic — (n.) short poem in which the initial letters of the lines, taken in order, spell a word or phrase, 1580s, from M.L. acrostichis, from Gk. akrostikhis, from akros at the end, outermost (see ACRID (Cf. acrid)) + stikhos line of verse, lit. row (see …   Etymology dictionary

  • acrostic — ► NOUN ▪ a poem or puzzle in which certain letters in each line form a word or words. ORIGIN Greek akrostikhis, from akron end + stikhos row, line of verse …   English terms dictionary

  • Acrostic — This article is about a type of poem. For the word puzzle, see Acrostic (puzzle). An acrostic (Greek: ákros top ; stíchos verse ) is a poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other… …   Wikipedia

  • acrostic — n. 1 a poem or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words. 2 a word puzzle constructed in this way. Phrases and idioms: double acrostic one using the first and last letters of each line. single acrostic one using …   Useful english dictionary

  • acrostic — UK [əˈkrɒstɪk] / US [əˈkrɔstɪk] noun [countable] Word forms acrostic : singular acrostic plural acrostics a number of lines of writing, for example a poem or a word puzzle, in which particular letters from each line form a word or phrase …   English dictionary

  • acrostic — noun Etymology: Middle French & Greek; Middle French acrostiche, from Greek akrostichis, from akr acr + stichos line; akin to steichein to go more at stair Date: 1530 1. a composition usually in verse in which sets of letters (as the initial or… …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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