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illiterate

[ih-lit-er-it] /ɪˈlɪt ər ɪt/
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.
noun
5.
an illiterate person.
Origin
1550-1560
1550-60; < Latin illiterātus unlettered. See il-2, literate
Related forms
illiterately, adverb
illiterateness, noun
semi-illiterate, adjective
semi-illiterately, adverb
semi-illiterateness, noun
Can be confused
illegible, illiterate, unreadable.
illiterate, innumerate.
Synonyms
1. See ignorant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for illiterates
  • By making life easier for illiterates you gave them no reason to change their situation.
  • It doesn't make any sense, in my mind, to call such people scientific illiterates or ignorant.
  • Perhaps electorates are made up of economic illiterates.
  • Some are drug dealers, gangs that terrorize neighborhoods and unemployable illiterates adding to the crime statistics.
  • Specialized teacher training in dealing with adult illiterates produces favorable results.
  • Functional illiterates may have some reading and writing skills but are not able to apply them as functioning members of society.
  • The lack of a control group of illiterates in the industrial market economies prevents a direct computation.
British Dictionary definitions for illiterates

illiterate

/ɪˈlɪtərɪt/
adjective
1.
unable to read and write
2.
violating accepted standards in reading and writing: an illiterate scrawl
3.
uneducated, ignorant, or uncultured: scientifically illiterate
noun
4.
an illiterate person
Derived Forms
illiteracy, illiterateness, noun
illiterately, 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
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Word Origin and History for illiterates

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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