the quality or state of being literate, especially the ability to read and write.
possession of education: to question someone's literacy.
a person's knowledge of a particular subject or field: to acquire computer literacy; improving your financial literacy.

Nearby words

  1. litas,
  2. litchi,
  3. litchi nut,
  4. lite,
  5. liter,
  6. literacy hour,
  7. literacy test,
  8. literae humaniores,
  9. literal,
  10. literal-minded

Origin of literacy

First recorded in 1880–85; liter(ate) + -acy

Related formsan·ti·lit·er·a·cy, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for literacy

British Dictionary definitions for literacy



the ability to read and write
the ability to use language proficiently
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

Word Origin and History for literacy



1883, formed in English from literate + -cy. Illiteracy, however, dates back to 17c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper