illiterate

You can describe a person unable to read or write as illiterate. Karaoke, which involves singing out the words to songs as they scroll across a big screen, requires the ability to read. If you’re illiterate, you won’t be able to participate.

Illiterate, from the Latin illiteratus “unlearned, ignorant,” can describe someone unable to read or write, but it can also imply that a person lacks cultural awareness. However, Walt Whitman saw a unique beauty to illiteracy: “There is that indescribable freshness and unconsciousness about an illiterate person that humbles and mocks the power of the noblest expressive genius.”

Definitions of illiterate
  1. adjective
    not able to read or write
    Synonyms:
    uneducated
    not having a good education
    analphabetic, unlettered
    having little acquaintance with writing
    functionally illiterate
    having reading and writing skills insufficient for ordinary practical needs
    preliterate
    not yet having acquired the ability to read and write
    semiliterate
    barely able to read and write
    semiliterate
    able to read but not to write
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    Antonyms:
    literate
    able to read and write
  2. adjective
    uneducated in the fundamentals of a given art or branch of learning; lacking knowledge of a specific field
    “he is musically illiterate
    synonyms: ignorant
    uneducated
    not having a good education
  3. adjective
    lacking culture, especially in language and literature
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    Antonyms:
    literate
    versed in literature; dealing with literature
    educated
    possessing an education (especially having more than average knowledge)
    belletristic
    written and regarded for aesthetic value rather than content
    literary
    knowledgeable about literature
    sophisticated
    having or appealing to those having worldly knowledge and refinement and savoir-faire
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  4. noun
    a person unable to read
    synonyms: illiterate person, nonreader
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    types:
    analphabet, analphabetic
    an illiterate person who does not know the alphabet
    functional illiterate
    a person with some ability to read and write but not enough for daily practical needs
    type of:
    ignoramus, know nothing, uneducated person
    an ignorant person
Word Family