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She is functionally illiterate, so she will need help filling out the employment application.
  not literate (i.e., unable to read or write)


uninformed in a particular field or general subject area
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illiterate illiteracy illiterates
Strongly Associated with:   literate
Note that "functional illiteracy" means that although one may be able to read or write a little, their ability is inadequate for normal requirements in their society.

Standard Prefix:  When used as a prefix, "il" often means "not" as in illegal, illegitimate, or illogical.
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Wikipedia - Functional Illiteracy
  • She is functionally illiterate, so she will need help filling out the employment application.
  • She is culturally illiterate.
  • She is politically illiterate.
  • I couldn’t ask Gordy because then he’d know I was an illiterate Indian idiot.
    Sherman Alexie  --  The Absolutlely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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  • i have often reread my progress reports and seen the illiteracy, the...
    Daniel Keyes  --  Flowers for Algernon
  • Her voice was heavy with sarcasm: "We’ve agreed that they’re backward, that they’re illiterate, that they’re dirty and comical and shiftless and no good, they’re infants and they’re stupid, some of them, but we haven’t agreed on one thing and we never will.
    Harper Lee  --  Go Set a Watchman
  • She’ll assume you’re illiterate.
    Sabaa Tahir  --  An Ember in the Ashes
  • She was illiterate until she was sixteen; she grew up in a one-room but and slept with goats and chickens.
    Margaret Peterson Haddix  --  Uprising
  • Only a handful seemed to care about learning, and more than a few were fundamentally illiterate.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Longest Ride
  • I learned how to preach the word to a lot of illiterate convicts, but they were no more ignorant than a lot of other folk.
    Rodman Philbrick  --  Freak the Mighty

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  • We know him affectionately as Badshah Sahib, and though he was completely illiterate, he managed to bring peace to the valley.
    Malala Yousafzai  --  I Am Malala
  • Ralph Myers was illiterate, but he knew that it was the Morrison crime that was preoccupying law enforcement investigators.
    Bryan Stevenson  --  Just Mercy
  • One of those Phoenicians who assume all Waldenites are illiterate.
    Kass Morgan  --  The 100
  • And kind of illiterate.
    William Goldman  --  The Princess Bride
  • Us illiterate people from the desert?
    Joshua Davis  --  Spare Parts
  • I was impatient because I had failed to turn illiterates into lovers of the great classics in the span of a single month.
    Pat Conroy  --  The Water is Wide
  • By definition, the 15 to 20 percent of Confederate soldiers who were illiterate are not included.
    James M. McPherson  --  What They Fought For - 1861-1865
  • Young and old, poor and rich, scholarly gentlemen and illiterate servant girls—only to Father did it seem that they were all alike.
    Corrie Ten Boom  --  The Hiding Place
  • Hopelessly unfunny, though straining for laughs on every page, these illiterate daydreams are an attempt to romanticize what must be a ghastly existence, the author eagerly equating the comic vicissitudes of her domestic life with those in the household of a brain surgeon.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • While Dougal, Jamie, and Ned were educated men, the rest were largely illiterate Highlanders from the remote crags and glens of the MacKenzie lands.
    Diana Gabaldon  --  Outlander
  • Now I am twenty-eight and am in reality more illiterate than many schoolboys of fifteen.
    Mary Shelley  --  Frankenstein
  • Miss Phelan, You certainly may hone your writing skills on such flat, passionless subjects as drunk driving and illiteracy.
    Kathryn Stockett  --  The Help
  • Then he added: "No, you can’t understand what I learned from that illiterate man—that simple fellow."
    Leo Tolstoy  --  War and Peace
  • Winston found and handed over two creased and filthy notes, which Parsons entered in a small notebook, in the neat handwriting of the illiterate.
    George Orwell  --  1984
  • To that illiterate merchant of yours in the middle of the desert?
    Yann Martel  --  Life of Pi
  • I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot.
    J.D. Salinger  --  The Catcher in the Rye
  • It wasn’t uncommon for some refugee children to be both illiterate in their native languages and innumerate—they had never learned the simplest math skills.
    Warren St. John  --  Outcasts United
  • Then about Negroes, mulattoes, mestizos, whites, the illiteracy rate — over 50 percent — and malaria.
    Anne Frank  --  The Diary of a Young Girl
  • She said that I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy.
    Maya Angelou  --  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Their leader was a mysterious, illiterate, one-eyed recluse named Mullah Omar, who, Rasheed said with some amusement, called himselfAmeer-ul-Mumineeny Leader of the Faithful.
    Khaled Hosseini  --  A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • The total effect is that of crudeness and architectural illiteracy.
    Ayn Rand  --  The Fountainhead
  • When your ancestors landed in Alagaesia, they were as illiterate as rabbits.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eldest
  • How he had copied the group of letters out on a piece of brown paper; copied, as illiterate people do, every curlicue, arch, and bend in the letters, and presented it to the midwife.
    Toni Morrison  --  Song of Solomon
  • He ran on a platform of improving the school system, fighting illiteracy, and trying to find innovative solutions to the metastasizing drug trade that was poisoning life in major areas of the city.
    Wes Moore  --  The Other Wes Moore
  • Would it not be better, finer, braver to leave the rubbish where it lies and walk out into the world a free untrammelled illiterate Superman?
    Cornelia Funke  --  Inkheart
  • In his leisure moments, which were far from frequent, he read, although he hated books; this caused him to be not wholly illiterate.
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • But despite his illiteracy, or maybe because of it, Hassan was drawn to the mystery of words, seduced by a secret world forbidden to him.
    Khaled Hosseini  --  The Kite Runner
  • The adulation that Trout was receiving, mindless and illiterate as it was, affected Trout like marijuana.
    Kurt Vonnegut  --  Slaughterhouse-Five
  • A memory of this may have survived in a line of The Iliad, but the syllabary itself had long gone out of use, and the world of Homer was illiterate.
    Homer  --  The Odyssey
  • The soldiers were finding nothing but garments and kitchen utensils; there were no letters, no books, not even a newspaper, as if the room were the habitation of an illiterate.
    Ayn Rand  --  Atlas Shrugged
  • They are simple people, illiterate, tribal people, an easy tool in the hand.
    Alan Paton  --  Cry, the Beloved Country
  • D., George Mason L niversity There is enough mathematical illiteracy in this country, and we don’t need the world’s highest IQ propagating more.
    Mark Haddon  --  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
  • Abel was a shrewd, grave giant, illiterate, kind of heart, older than the other boys and with as good or better manners in the presence of ladies.
    Margaret Mitchell  --  Gone with the Wind
  • For a few years, she used her degree to work as a volunteer in a Philadelphia social service agency that helped pregnant, unwed mothers; then she moved on to run a weekly reading group for literate and illiterate senior citizens at the local Ewing library, which she still does today.
    James McBride  --  The Color of Water
  • He was so handicapped by illiteracy and by his trusting disposition that he would be an easy prey to sharpers.
    Willa Cather  --  My Antonia
  • And I have no doubt that he will thrive, and be a very rich man in time—and his being illiterate and coarse need not disturb us.
    Jane Austen  --  Emma
  • There’s just no telling what illiterates like that might do.
    Natalie Babbitt  --  Tuck Everlasting
  • But I will look about my village at the illiteracy and disease and ignorance and I will not wonder long.
    Lorraine Hansberry  --  A Raisin in the Sun
  • But no, he was ex officio an illiterate.
    T. H. White  --  The Once and Future King
  • In Massachusetts the percentage of white illiteracy is eight-tenths of one per cent, while in South Carolina it is thirteen and six-tenths per cent; also in South Carolina there is a property qualification for voters—and for these and other reasons child labor is the rule, and so the cotton mills were driving those of Massachusetts out of the business.
    Upton Sinclair  --  The Jungle
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Associated words [difficulty]:   illiterate [2] , literate [4]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Human Behavior, Public Policy & Politics, Religion - Christianity
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