- 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 illiterates
And don't forget that the illiterates have the power in their hands.Ireland as It Is
Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
The other caste—the Illiterates—were dependents of the Intellectuals.The Philippine Islands
But Italy is not the country of illiterates that the stranger presupposes.Italian Highways and Byways from a Motor Car
Certainly not of the great mass of working women and illiterates!Pedagogical Anthropology
Have not women, the illiterates of love, all the intuitions of ignorance?Very Woman
Remy de Gourmont
- 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 illiterates
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).