- unable to read and write: an illiterate group.
- having or demonstrating very little or no education.
- showing lack of culture, especially in language and literature.
- displaying a marked lack of knowledge in a particular field: He is musically illiterate.
- an illiterate person.
Origin of illiterate
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for illiterate
Her mother was illiterate, but she secured a tutor for both her sons and her daughters, and Juana could read by the age of 3.Sor Juana: Mexico’s Most Erotic Poet and Its Most Dangerous Nun
November 8, 2014
An ICRW survey in Afghanistan in 2010 found that 71 percent of parents who married off their daughters were illiterate.The Sad Hidden Plight of Child Grooms
September 18, 2014
Keep in mind that in Nigeria, 51 percent of the 170 million people are illiterate.How We Stop the Next Boko Haram
May 22, 2014
The Nightman Cometh An illiterate janitor writes a musical to woo a woman who has a restraining order against him.Why ‘It’s Always Sunny’ Is Funny: An Examination of Scenes, Stripped of Context
November 10, 2013
See what Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, and company think about being unattractive, unathletic, illiterate voyeurs.Naked Subway Man, Chris Christie, ‘Get Lucky’ & More Viral Videos
The Daily Beast Video
June 15, 2013
Look at the comparative returns of the illiterate electorate.Ireland as It Is
Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
The watchman of this secret chamber was an illiterate, deaf and dumb peasant.The Minister of Evil
William Le Queux
In spite of his lack of University training he was no illiterate ignoramus.History of the Moravian Church
J. E. Hutton
He bridled up at the word "illiterate," and repudiated the vile insinuation.My New Curate
We find Oxford so illiterate, that she could not even provide an University preacher!Oxford
- unable to read and write
- violating accepted standards in reading and writingan illiterate scrawl
- uneducated, ignorant, or unculturedscientifically illiterate
- an illiterate person
Word Origin and History for illiterate
early 15c., "uneducated, unable to read (originally of Latin)," from Latin illiteratus "unlearned, unlettered, ignorant; without culture, inelegant," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + literatus, literally "furnished with letters" (see literate). As a noun meaning "illiterate person" from 1620s. Hence, illiterati (1788).