preliterate

[ pree-lit-er-it ]
/ priˈlɪt ər ɪt /

adjective Anthropology.

lacking a written language; nonliterate: a preliterate culture.
occurring before the development or use of writing.

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Origin of preliterate

First recorded in 1920–25; pre- + literate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for preliterate

preliterate
/ (priːˈlɪtərɪt) /

adjective

relating to a society that has not developed a written language

Derived forms of preliterate

preliteracy (priːˈlɪtərəsɪ), noun
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