Definition of illiterate adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ɪˈlɪtərət//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪˈlɪtərət//
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  1. 1(of a person) not knowing how to read or write A large percentage of the rural population was illiterate. opposite literate
  2. 2(of a document or letter) badly written, as if by somebody without much education
  3. 3(usually after a noun or adverb) not knowing very much about a particular subject area. computer illiterate musically illiterate
  4. Word Origin late Middle English: from Latin illitteratus, from in- ‘not’ + litteratus, from littera ‘letter of the alphabet’, (plural) ‘epistle, literature, culture’.Extra examples People judged to be functionally illiterate lack the basic reading and writing skills required in everyday life. These soldiers are mostly illiterate. Being illiterate, my grandfather signed the document with an ‘X’. Even if you’re computer illiterate you should be able to follow these simple instructions. In a mainly illiterate society, traditions were passed down orally. Many of the application forms we received were virtually illiterate. My husband was clever but emotionally illiterate. Ordinary members of the clergy were largely illiterate. She’s illiterate in her own language. That morning I received a somewhat illiterate letter from my client. The population was politically illiterate and easily manipulated.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: illiterate

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