Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "illiterate" []

  • Unable to read and write. (adjective)
  • Having little or no formal education. (adjective)
  • Marked by inferiority to an expected standard of familiarity with language and literature. (adjective)
  • Violating prescribed standards of speech or writing. (adjective)
  • Ignorant of the fundamentals of a given art or branch of knowledge: musically illiterate. See Usage Note at literate. (adjective)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "illiterate" in a sentence
  • "Sending computers won't do much at all if people are illiterate never mind *computer illiterate* and starving."
  • "To be religiously illiterate is to short-change one's self and society."
  • "Is English not your mother tongue or are you just plain illiterate?"