Alimentary vs elementary

Alimentary and elementary are two words that are often confused. We will examine the definitions of the words alimentary and elementary, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Alimentary describes something pertaining to food, sustenance or nutrition. The alimentary canal is the path that food takes in an animal or human from its entrance into the mouth to its expulsion from the anus. The word alimentary is derived from the Latin word alimentarius, which means having to do with food.

Elementary means very basic, very rudimentary, uncomplicated, fundamental. In the United States, elementary school encompasses the early years of a child’s education, also known as primary school. The fictional character Sherlock Holmes is known for stating “Elementary, my dear Watson,” but in fact he never uttered those words in that fashion in the original stories. The word elementary is derived from the Latin word elementarius, which means belonging to the elements, rudimentary.


Dr Bollineni Bhaskara Rao, managing director and CEO of the hospital, while briefing the media about Dasari’s health, later in the day, said that he had an infection in the alimentary canal. (The Times of India)

As I was pointing out in the last essay those who know how to put the right kind of food into their alimentary system are those who have the knowledge of the preventive approach to the issue of health. (The Guardian)

School system administrators condemned the teacher absences at Tench Tilghman Elementary-Middle School in a statement Wednesday afternoon, and the Baltimore Teachers Union warned that it’s illegal for teachers to strike. (The Baltimore Sun)

Every citizen is entitled to feel authentically represented. Grieder points out that the elementary principles of democracy are accountability of the governors to the governed, equal protection under the law, political equality among all citizens, timely access to public debate and honesty in communication between the government and the people. (The Chippewa Herald)

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