Definition of Acrostic in English

Acrostic comes from a Greek word that refers to the completion of a verse. The first meaning of the concept mentioned in the dictionary makes mention of the poem that, with the initial, intermediate or final letters of its verses, forms an expression or a word.

For example:

I would give everything to see you again,
even what I never had
or that was mine and I lost it.
Only that I ask: to see you again.

As you can see, if we take the first letter of each verse and join them, the word “God” is formed. This stanza, therefore, is an acrostic.

By extension, any term or expression that is formed from this method of composition is called acrostic. Calm, in this sense, may be an acrostic derived from “When someone reads, much learns. ”

Regarding the history of this term, it is believed that the first to compose this type of works were the Provencal poets, and that later the Castilians began to incorporate them into their repertoires. Regarding the Provencal poets, these are those writers who used the Occitan language, a Romance language of the European continent, for the creation of their works.

By extension, Provencal or Occitan literature is spoken to all literary works that use that language. Its origin dates back to the 11th century, and it was found in poetry. The work carried out by the troubadours of diffusion and development of letters promoted the rise of vulgar works in Europe in the Middle Ages.

At certain moments in the history of literature in which elaborate forms stood out, as was the case of the literary Baroque, the acrostic was one of the most widespread devices. Leaving aside the discomfort that may be generated in reading by its little direct or overloaded nature, it should be noted that many readers find the process of discovering a message relatively hidden within another to be entertaining.

There are several examples of acrostics considered famous for belonging to some of the most important works in world literature. Such is the case of the foreword to La Celestina by Fernando de Rojas. It is built in verse and with the initials of each of its lines it is possible to put together the phrase “The bachelor”. Luis Tovar and Antonio de Lofraso are other authors who made use of acrostic in their works.

On the other hand, an acrostic is called a hobby that invites you to discover, following certain instructions, the words that, located in a column, allow other words or an expression to be formed with their initial letters.

Although it can be said that the acrostic as a game has certain similarities with the crossword puzzle, it is easy to distinguish them in their purest forms, since while the latter is presented as a grid in which various words written horizontally or vertically converge, the acrostic it is usually made up of a list of words, all in the same sense, aligned in such a way that one of its letters serves to form the word or phrase that is also called acrostic. In both cases, the process is to discover each word through its definitions.

An example of acrostic as a hobby is as follows:

Discover the color name by answering the following questions and joining the initial letters of each answer:

  1. What animal is Mickey Mouse? Mouse.
    2. What disease does someone suffering from excess weight suffer? Obesity.
    3. What was the first name of Lennon, the musician who was part of The Beatles? John.
    4. What is the acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization? NATO.

Joining the initials, the unknown of the acrostic is solved: RED.