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[uh-kraw-stik, uh-kros-tik] /əˈkrɔ stɪk, əˈkrɒs tɪk/
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.
Also, acrostical. of, like, or forming an acrostic.
Origin of acrostic
1580-90; < Greek akrostichís, equivalent to akro- acro- + stích(os) stich1 + -is noun suffix
Related forms
acrostically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for acrostic
  • Today's acrostic does not appear in the print magazine.
  • Two weeks ago, the acrostic consisted entirely of eight-letter words.
  • There are a couple of odd answer words in this weekend's acrostic.
  • In every acrostic you toss in a few interesting, lesser-known words, in both the clues and answers.
  • Students can create simple acrostic poems about their favorite critters.
  • In an acrostic poem the first letter of each line forms a word or phrase.
  • Identify the characteristics of students who are successful in school by creating an acrostic poem.
  • The theme of this acrostic will be how to cope with change.
  • Have each student develop an acrostic poem using one of the vocabulary words.
  • Have students compose and illustrate an acrostic poem using their animal name and its characteristics.
British Dictionary definitions for acrostic


  1. a number of lines of writing, such as a poem, certain letters of which form a word, proverb, etc. A single acrostic is formed by the initial letters of the lines, a double acrostic by the initial and final letters, and a triple acrostic by the initial, middle, and final letters
  2. the word, proverb, etc, so formed
  3. (as modifier): an acrostic sonnet
Derived Forms
acrostically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: via French from Greek akrostikhis, from acro- + stikhos line of verse, stich
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for acrostic

short poem in which the initial letters of the lines, taken in order, spell a word or phrase, 1580s, from Medieval Latin acrostichis, from Greek akrostikhis, from akros "at the end, outermost" (see acrid) + stikhos "line of verse," literally "row" (see stair).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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