Definition of functional illiterate in US English:

functional illiterate


  • A person whose level of ability to read and write is below that needed to do the ordinary tasks required to function normally in society.

    • ‘As a result, 41 per cent of the functional illiterates were unemployed and probably stood little chance of finding jobs in the future, given the increasing use of technology at the workplace.’
    • ‘Hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into research on reading, but we have more functional illiterates than ever before in the history of this nation.’
    • ‘There are billions of full illiterates or functional illiterates on the planet.’
    • ‘Are you proud that 40 million adult Americans are functional illiterates?’
    • ‘Nearly half of the 4.5 million functional illiterates identified in the survey are 55 or older, even though this group only accounts for 29 per cent of the total population;’
    • ‘The objective of this project is to create an index that could quantify the number of functional illiterates in the country.’
    • ‘The basic skills of functional illiterates do not reach beyond the fourth grade.’
    • ‘No longer could Texas afford an educational system that produced a large number of functional illiterates and citizens with limited scientific knowledge, technological know-how, and language skills.’
    • ‘Fortunately for us right now, Russia has even more such functional illiterates than we do.’
    • ‘It is a national scandal that so many students in urban public schools are functional illiterates.’