One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person who is learning the alphabet or who is engaged in elementary education; one who is inexperienced in a particular subject; a novice, a beginner. Compare "abecedarian". Now somewhat rare.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in John Selden (1584–1654), lawyer and historical and linguistic scholar. From post-classical Latin alphabetarius alphabetary + -an.
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