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acrostic

acrostic əkrŏ´stĭk [key], arrangement of words or lines in which a series of initial, final, or other corresponding letters, when taken together, stand in a set order to form a word, a phrase, the alphabet, or the like. A famous acrostic was made on the Greek for Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior: I esous Ch ristos, Th eou U ios, S oter ( ch and th being each one letter in Greek). The initials spell ichthus, Greek for fish hence the frequent use of the fish by early Christians as a symbol for Jesus. There are several alphabetic acrostics (pertaining to the Hebrew alphabet) in the Bible, e.g., in Ps. 119 and Lamentations . Acrostic verses are common, and very elaborate puzzles have been devised combining several schemes.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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