Definition of acrostic in English:


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  • A poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words.

    ‘The title of the poem is a near acrostic, containing the word coital (perhaps suggestive of self and other joining together).’
    • ‘So an entire stanza or page might at times intervene between the M and the U of Mud (at other points the acrostic goes line to line).’
    • ‘He took weekly Sabbath walks to the University of North Carolina to sell fruit, soon winning the students' admiration by composing love lyrics and acrostics to order.’
    • ‘Mullen's poems, which often incorporate word games like anagrams, acrostics, and puns, can border on the nonsensical (or, as she says, ‘skirt the edges of meaning’).’
    • ‘This is the Hebrew month of Elul, which in Hebrew forms an acrostic for the words: ‘I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine.’’
    • ‘He followed this lively discussion with another literacy activity: having students do an acrostic.’
    • ‘A simple structure for your prayer life may be based on an acrostic on the words ACTS.’
    • ‘Even the orthography functions as a unit of visual organization, and of allusion: much of the verse is in fact structured by an acrostic.’
    • ‘In the Old Testament all the recognized acrostics belong to the alphabetical type (abecedarian).’
    • ‘Both free verse and rhymed poetry styles are studied, including cinquain, haiku, tanka, rhopalic, echo and refrain poems, acrostics, alphabet and dictionary poems.’
    • ‘It's true that word games (puns, acrostics, charades, and so on) were once thought of as ‘merely’ innocent entertainments.’
    • ‘A character is like an acrostic or Alexandrian stanza; - read it forward, backward, or across, it still spells the same thing.’
    • ‘The Greeks did enjoy making acrostics, but that's a different kind of wordplay (despite the fact that the Times confusingly calls word squares ‘acrostic squares’).’
    • ‘I'm a huge fan of crosswords, both American-style and cryptic (though I suck rocks at the latter); I dig acrostics, and even cryptograms.’
    • ‘If you thought that puns, acrostics, charades, et cetera were quaint relics from a bygone era, then think again as Robert Dessaix brings us up to date on Word Games.’
    • ‘On the inside, she glued six custom-sized acrostics of the names of herself and her relatives, dated 1812 to 1814.’
    • ‘To reflect this, God's name seems to have been intentionally left out of the narrative, appearing only as a hidden acrostic.’
    • ‘I plan to do another blog post, finish the acrostic in the NYT Magazine, and do a bit of walking (with the help of my camera).’
    • ‘It's a good day to read the Times, do the acrostic, grade some exams, watch a movie, and eat dinner in a restaurant.’
    • ‘This acrostic was probably written by a second or third-century Christian.’



/əˈkrôstik/ /əˈkrɔstɪk/


Late 16th century from French acrostiche, from Greek akrostikhis, from akron ‘end’ + stikhos ‘row, line of verse’. The change in the ending was due to association with -ic.