• synonyms


  1. able to read and write.
  2. having or showing knowledge of literature, writing, etc.; literary; well-read.
  3. characterized by skill, lucidity, polish, or the like: His writing is literate but cold and clinical.
  4. having knowledge or skill in a specified field: Is she computer literate? The boss needs a computer‐literate assistant.
  5. having an education; educated.
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  1. a person who can read and write.
  2. a learned person.
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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

Synonyms for literate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for literately


  1. able to read and write
  2. educated; learned
  3. used to words rather than numbers as a means of expressionCompare numerate
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  1. a literate person
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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 literately



"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)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper