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illiterate

[ih-lit-er-it]
adjective
  1. unable to read and write: an illiterate group.
  2. having or demonstrating very little or no education.
  3. showing lack of culture, especially in language and literature.
  4. displaying a marked lack of knowledge in a particular field: He is musically illiterate.
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noun
  1. an illiterate person.
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Origin of illiterate

First recorded in 1550–60, illiterate is from the Latin word illiterātus unlettered. See il-2, literate
Related formsil·lit·er·ate·ly, adverbil·lit·er·ate·ness, nounsem·i-il·lit·er·ate, adjectivesem·i-il·lit·er·ate·ly, adverbsem·i-il·lit·er·ate·ness, noun
Can be confusedillegible illiterate unreadableilliterate innumerate

Synonyms

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

British Dictionary definitions for semi-illiterate

illiterate

adjective
  1. unable to read and write
  2. violating accepted standards in reading and writingan illiterate scrawl
  3. uneducated, ignorant, or unculturedscientifically illiterate
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noun
  1. an illiterate person
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Derived Formsilliteracy or illiterateness, nounilliterately, adverb
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 semi-illiterate

illiterate

adj.

early 15c., "uneducated, unable to read (originally of Latin)," from Latin illiteratus "unlearned, unlettered, ignorant; without culture, inelegant," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + literatus, literally "furnished with letters" (see literate). As a noun meaning "illiterate person" from 1620s. Hence, illiterati (1788).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper