adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Latin illiteratus, from in- + litteratus literate Date: 15th century 1. having little or no education; especially unable to read or write <
an illiterate population
2. a. showing or marked by a lack of familiarity with language and literature <
an illiterate magazine
b. violating approved patterns of speaking or writing 3. showing or marked by a lack of acquaintance with the fundamentals of a particular field of knowledge <
musically illiterate
Synonyms: see ignorantilliterate nounilliterately adverbilliterateness noun

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

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  • illiterate — UK US /ɪˈlɪtərət/ adjective ► unable to read and write: »More than half of the country s population of 8m are illiterate. ► knowing little or nothing about a particular subject: »to be computer illiterate »economically/financially/technologically …   Financial and business terms

  • illiterate — [i lit′ər it] adj. [L illiteratus, unlettered: see IN 2 & LITERATE] 1. ignorant; uneducated; esp., not knowing how to read or write 2. having or showing limited knowledge, experience, or culture, esp. in some particular field [musically… …   English World dictionary

  • Illiterate — Il*lit er*ate, a. [L. illiteratus: pref. il not + literatus learned. See {In } not, and {Literal}.] Unable to read or write; ignorant of letters or books; unlettered; uninstructed; uneducated; as, an illiterate man, or people. Syn: Ignorant;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • illiterate — (adj.) early 15c., uneducated, unable to read (originally of Latin), from L. illiteratus unlearned, unlettered, ignorant; without culture, inelegant, from assimilated form of in not, opposite of (see IN (Cf. in ) (1)) + literatus, lit. furnished… …   Etymology dictionary

  • illiterate — illiterate, innumerate Illiterate (16c) means ‘unable to read or write’ or ‘poorly educated’; innumerate (20c) means ‘having no knowledge of or aptitude for the principles of mathematics’. The corresponding positive forms literate and numerate… …   Modern English usage

  • illiterate — ► ADJECTIVE 1) unable to read or write. 2) ignorant in a particular subject or activity; politically illiterate. DERIVATIVES illiteracy noun illiterately adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • illiterate — index unversed Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • illiterate — adj unlettered, uneducated, untaught, *ignorant, untutored, unlearned Antonyms: literate Contrasted words: taught, instructed, educated, schooled (see TEACH) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • illiterate — [adj] unable to read well; lacking education benighted, catachrestic, ignorant, inerudite, solecistic, uneducated, unenlightened, ungrammatical, uninstructed, unlearned, unlettered, unread, unschooled, untaught, untutored; concept 402 Ant. able,… …   New thesaurus

  • illiterate — [[t]ɪlɪ̱tərət[/t]] illiterates 1) ADJ Someone who is illiterate does not know how to read or write. A large percentage of the population is illiterate. N COUNT An illiterate is someone who is illiterate. educational centre for illiterates.… …   English dictionary

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