Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal.
Related to illiterateness: illiterate person


a. Unable to read and write.
b. Having little or no formal education.
a. Marked by inferiority to an expected standard of familiarity with language and literature: an illiterate magazine.
b. Violating prescribed standards of speech or writing: a paragraph with several illiterate expressions.
3. Ignorant of the fundamentals of a given art or branch of knowledge: musically illiterate. See Usage Note at literate.
1. A person who is illiterate.
2. (used with a pl. verb) People who are illiterate, considered as a group.

[Middle English, from Latin illīterātus : in-, not; see in-1 + līterātus, literate; see literate.]

il·lit′er·ate·ly adv.
il·lit′er·ate·ness n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:


The condition of being ignorant; lack of knowledge or learning:
References in classic literature ?
We are underbred and low-lived and illiterate; and in this respect I confess I do not make any very broad distinction between the illiterateness of my townsman who cannot read at all and the illiterateness of him who has learned to read only what is for children and feeble intellects.