- 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
- 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 semi-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).