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Chrestomathy ( ; from the Greek words khrestos, useful, and mathein, to know) is a collection of choice literary passages, used especially as an aid in learning a foreign language.

In philology or in the study of literature, it is a type of reader or anthology which presents a sequence of example texts, selected to demonstrate the development of language or literary style.

In computer programming, a program chrestomathy is a collection of similar programs written in various programming languages, for the purpose of demonstrating differences in syntax, semantics and idioms for each language. This term is thought to have been first used by Eric S. Raymond in the Retrocomputing Museum web site. It is used by analogy to a linguistic chrestomathy.


  • Bernhard Dorn, A Chrestomathy of the Pushtu or Afghan language, St. Petersburg: 1847
  • Mencken, H. L., A Mencken Chrestomathy, New York: Alfred P. Knopf, 1949
  • Zamenhof, L. L., , Paris: Hachette, 1903
  • Edward Ullendorff, A Tigrinya Chrestomathy, Stuttgart: Steiner Werlag Wiesbaden GmbH, 1985.
  • on Rosetta Code

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