Definition of chrestomathy in US English:



  • A selection of passages from an author or authors, designed to help in learning a language.

    • ‘I may quote more, and compare it to other chrestomathies if anyone's interested.’
    • ‘The material which eventually made it into Mencken's second chrestomathy was selected, revised, and annotated by Mencken himself.’
    • ‘This publication is most welcome since the chrestomathies of the twentieth century have long been out of print.’
    • ‘In the latter significance the term is often used by linguists, and in some of the chrestomathies issued by them in recent years.’
    • ‘Despite structural similarities between Orientalist chrestomathies and Westermarck's ethnography, the principles regulating their interpretation were not the same.’


Mid 19th century: from Greek khrēstomatheia, from khrēstos ‘useful’ + -matheia ‘learning’.