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[uhn-let-erd] /ʌnˈlɛt ərd/
not educated; uneducated; untutored; ignorant.
not literate; illiterate.
not marked with letters, as a tombstone.
Origin of unlettered
1300-50; Middle English; see un-1, lettered
1. See ignorant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unlettered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Of course we too recognize the gulf fixed between the educated and the unlettered, but we try to bridge it.

  • How needless is all the misery which this rude, unlettered tyrant is about to inflict!

    Aurelian William Ware
  • The simple and unlettered have listened to his words of truth and been comforted.

    History of Education Levi Seeley
  • Foreigners were things which in his untraveled, unlettered ignorance he despised.

    The Lion's Skin Rafael Sabatini
  • Was it possible that one, untaught and unlettered as he was, could think national freedom cheap at such a cost?

  • It is certain she was all unlettered in love up to that hour.

    Little Novels of Italy Maurice Henry Hewlett
  • Somewhat surprised, Vivian looked with a curious eye on the unlettered backs of a row of mighty folios on a corner shelf.

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
  • He was an honest, industrious, unlettered, rude sort of man.

    History of Linn County Iowa Luther A. Brewer
British Dictionary definitions for unlettered


uneducated; illiterate
not marked with letters: an unlettered tombstone
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 unlettered

mid-14c., "not possessed of book-learning," from un- (1) "not" + lettered (see letter (n.)). An anglicized form of illiterate. Cf. Middle Dutch ongelettert.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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