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[uhn-let-erd] /ʌnˈlɛt ərd/
not educated; uneducated; untutored; ignorant.
not literate; illiterate.
not marked with letters, as a tombstone.
Origin of unlettered
Middle English word dating back to 1300-50; See origin at un-1, lettered Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unlettered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I wonder still at the unlettered condition of the boys about me.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • I held him to be a shallow, unlettered clown, devoid of any finer feelings.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • Foreigners were things which in his untraveled, unlettered ignorance he despised.

    The Lion's Skin Rafael Sabatini
  • He was unlettered, had never opened a book, and seemed to know little of the ways of men.

    The Arena Various
  • His letters were the painful efforts of an unlettered mujik, as indeed he was.

    The Minister of Evil William Le Queux
  • We are not justified in regarding him as unlettered or ignorant.

    Jesus the Christ James Edward Talmage
  • It is certain she was all unlettered in love up to that hour.

    Little Novels of Italy Maurice Henry Hewlett
  • unlettered as they were themselves, they could scarcely undertake to educate their children.

    History of Education Levi Seeley
British Dictionary definitions for unlettered


uneducated; illiterate
not marked with letters: an unlettered tombstone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unlettered

mid-14c., "not possessed of book-learning," from un- (1) "not" + lettered (see letter (n.)). An anglicized form of illiterate. Cf. Middle Dutch ongelettert.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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