[ lit-er-it ]
/ ˈlɪt ər ɪt /



a person who can read and write.
a learned person.

Nearby words

  1. literalize,
  2. literally,
  3. literary,
  4. literary agent,
  5. literary executor,
  6. literately,
  7. literati,
  8. literatim,
  9. literation,
  10. literator

Origin of literate

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin līterātus, litterātus learned, scholarly. See letter1, -ate1

Related formslit·er·ate·ly, adverban·ti·lit·er·ate, adjective, nounan·ti·lit·er·ate·ly, adverbun·lit·er·ate, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for literate

British Dictionary definitions for literate


/ (ˈlɪtərɪt) /


able to read and write
educated; learned
used to words rather than numbers as a means of expressionCompare numerate


a literate person
Derived Formsliterately, adverb

Word Origin for literate

C15: from Latin litterātus learned. See letter

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 literate



"educated, instructed," early 15c., from Latin literatus/litteratus "educated, learned," literally "one who knows the letters," formed in imitation of Greek grammatikos from Latin littera/litera "letter" (see letter (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper