Words related to alphabet

alpha (n.)
c. 1300, from Latin alpha, from Greek alpha, from Hebrew or Phoenician aleph (see aleph). The Greeks added -a because Greek words cannot end in most consonants. Sense of "beginning of anything" is from late 14c., often paired with omega (the last letter in the Greek alphabet, representing "the end"); sense of "first in a sequence" is from 1620s. In astronomy, the designation of the brightest star of each constellation (the use of Greek letters in star names began with Bayer's atlas in 1603). Alpha male was in use by c. 1960 among scientists studying animals; applied to humans in society from c. 1992.
beta (n.)

second letter of the Greek alphabet, c. 1300, from Greek, from Hebrew/Phoenician beth (see alphabet); used to designate the second of many things. Beta radiation is from 1899 (Rutherford). Beta particle is attested from 1904. Beta male, pejorative term for a risk-avoidant, non-confrontational man perceived as a follower or supporter rather than a leader, is by 2005, transferred from zoology (birds, primates), where it is attested by 1962 (compare alpha male under alpha).

ABC (n.)

also a-b-c, late 13c. (spelled abece) from the first three letters of it taken as a word (compare alphabet, abecedary, Old French abecé, abecedé "alphabet," 13c.). Sense "rudiments or fundamentals (of a subject)" is from late 14c. As a shortening of American Broadcasting Company from 1944 (in a Billboard magazine headline), earlier of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1931). Related: ABCs.

aleph (n.)
name for the Hebrew and Phoenician first letter, ancestor of A, c. 1300, from Semitic languages, pausal form of eleph "ox" (the character might have developed from a hieroglyph of an ox's head); also see alphabet.
alphabetical (adj.)
"pertaining to an alphabet; in the order of the alphabet," 1560s, from alphabet + -ical. Alphabetary (adj.) also is from 1560s; alphabetic is from 1640s. Related: Alphabetically.
alphabetize (v.)
1848, "arrange alphabetically," from alphabet + -ize. The older verb was simply alphabet (1700). From 1854 as "express by alphabetic letters." Related: Alphabetized; alphabetizing.
alphanumeric (adj.)
"using both letters and numbers," 1912, contracted from alphabet + numeric (see numerical).
futhorc (n.)
1851, historians' name for the Germanic runic alphabet; so called from its first six letters (th being a single rune), on the model of alphabet.