Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “illiterate”


adjective     /ɪˈlɪt.ər.ət/ US  /-ˈlɪt̬.ɚ-/
C2 unable to read and write: A surprising percentage of the population are illiterate. → Compare innumerateUnaware knowing little or nothing about a particular subject: computer illiterate financially/technologically illiterateUnaware illiteracy     /-ə.si/ noun [U] In the rural areas, illiteracy is widespread.Unaware
(Definition of illiterate adjective from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of illiterate

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Unaware, but you might be interested in these topics from the Knowing and understanding topic area:

Definitions of “illiterate” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


the skill with which something was made or done

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More