Instead, Hirsch breathes new life into the abecedarian by pointing out its relationship to prayer and how poets as varied as Gertrude Stein and Harryette Mullen have stretched — and been stretched by — the form.
-- Elizabeth Lund, "'A Poet's Glossary,' by Edward Hirsch," The Washington Post, 2014
Henry Barnard, commenting on the work of the abecedarian, in the early nineteenth century, says: "If a child be bright, the time which passes during this lesson is the only part of the day when he does not think. Not a single faculty of the mind is occupied except that of imitating sounds; and even the number of these imitations amounts to only twenty-six."
-- Edited by Paul Monroe, A Cyclopedia of Education, 1911
Abecedarian entered English in the early 1600s. It can be traced to the Latin abecedarium meaning "alphabet" or "primer."