Acrostic – Definition & Meaning

An acrostic is a type of poem, puzzle, or word game that involves writing a word or phrase vertically and using the first letter of each line to spell out a message. This technique can be used in a variety of ways, from creating hidden messages to adding extra layers of meaning to a piece of writing.


A simple definition of acrostic is a poem or puzzle in which certain letters in each line spell out a word or phrase. It is a literary device that uses the first letter of each line to create a hidden message or word.


The origin of acrostic can be traced back to ancient times. The Greeks and Romans used acrostics in their poetry as a way to hide secret messages. In Hebrew literature, acrostics were used as a mnemonic device to help people memorize important texts.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to Merriam-Webster, an acrostic is “a composition usually in verse in which sets of letters (such as the initial or final letters of the lines) taken in order form a word, phrase, or sentence.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines acrostic as “a poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words.”


Acrostics are often associated with poetry and word games. They can be used to convey hidden messages or add an extra layer of meaning to a piece of writing. Acrostics are also used in puzzles, such as crossword puzzles and word searches.


Some synonyms of acrostic include word puzzle, word game, and hidden message.


There are no direct antonyms for acrostic, but some opposite concepts might include straightforward writing, clear communication, and direct messaging.

The same root words

There are no direct root words for acrostic, but it shares the same root as the word acrobat, which comes from the Greek word akrobatos, meaning “walking on tiptoe.”

Example Sentences

  • The acrostic poem spelled out the name of the author’s favorite book.
  • The students enjoyed solving the acrostic puzzle in their English class.
  • The hidden message in the acrostic added a new layer of meaning to the poem.
  • The crossword puzzle included an acrostic that spelled out a famous quote.
  • The acrostic game challenged players to come up with words that started with each letter of the alphabet.
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