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[ih-lit-er-uh-see] /ɪˈlɪt ər ə si/
noun, plural illiteracies for 3.
a lack of ability to read and write.
the state of being illiterate; lack of any or enough education.
a mistake in writing or speaking, felt to be characteristic of an illiterate or semiliterate person:
a letter that was full of illiteracies.
Origin of illiteracy
1650-60; illiter(ate) + -acy
Related forms
semi-illiteracy, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for illiteracy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This discovery of his illiteracy shocked and hurt her inexpressibly.

    Shining Ferry Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • And the American drama has to be filtered through that sort of—of illiteracy?

    Blue-grass and Broadway Maria Thompson Daviess
  • Human beings in the civilization of illiteracy know better why they eat than what they eat.

  • The degree of illiteracy is difficult to quantify, but the result is easy to notice.

  • Advertising in the civilization of illiteracy is no longer communication or illustration.

Word Origin and History for illiteracy

1650s, from illiterate + -cy. Earlier in this sense was illiterature (1590s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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