Definition of illiteracy in US English:

illiteracy

noun

  • 1The inability to read or write.

    ‘the ineffective educational system meant that illiteracy was widespread’
    • ‘Adult illiteracy fell from 37 percent in 1978 to less than 17 percent in 1999.’
    • ‘Illiteracy is not obvious to casual inspection and may be difficult to detect through simple questioning.’
    • ‘Functional illiteracy is considered anything less than a seventh-grade reading level.’
    • ‘By 1939, illiteracy had been reduced to 12 percent and was less than 1 percent in 2000.’
    • ‘The surname could also have changed form when migration is combined with illiteracy.’
    • ‘Rural adult illiteracy is a matter of alarming concern.’
    • ‘Further, there are social issues that are negatively impacted by this very topic of illiteracy.’
    • ‘I will never forget a poster devoted to the eradication of illiteracy.’
    • ‘The consequences of illiteracy are far reaching.’
    • ‘Illiteracy rates among year three students were cut in half.’
    • ‘Rumor has particular currency in Tibet because illiteracy is high, some say, particularly in rural areas.’
    • ‘Standards of education, while high during the 1970s, have slumped dramatically and illiteracy rates have soared.’
    • ‘When North Korea faced the task of building a new national culture, it faced a serious problem of illiteracy.’
    • ‘His illiteracy means that he didn't read the warnings on his medication, leading to a dangerous reaction.’
    • ‘Illiteracy has a new enemy, and it comes in the shape of the new Miss America.’
    • ‘Poverty and illiteracy characterized southern Italy, where two-thirds of the immigrants originated.’
    • ‘We should therefore make the tackling of illiteracy a priority in 2004.’
    • ‘Even in Managua, the Nicaraguan capital, the illiteracy rate is very high.’
    • ‘He emphasised the need for removing illiteracy.’
    • ‘The literacy rate for women has stagnated, and, in certain regions, the level of female illiteracy is very high.’
    illiterateness, inability to read or write
    ignorance, unawareness, inexperience, unenlightenment, benightedness, lack of knowledge, lack of education
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Lack of knowledge in a particular subject; ignorance.
      ‘his economic illiteracy’
      • ‘Yet even as we rely on numbers, we are bedeviled by innumeracy, the mathematical equivalent of illiteracy.’
      • ‘Perhaps the religious illiteracy of so many otherwise well-educated young Catholics is too familiar to bear mentioning again.’
      • ‘Australians are not immune to the financial illiteracy problem and symptoms here, just as elsewhere, abound.’
      • ‘I get annoyed by the illiteracy of the debate.’
      • ‘I provide this here so that you may see the magnitude of the battle we are waging against ignorance and scientific illiteracy.’
      • ‘This sounds like a conspiracy of some sort, to lull our aggressive adolescents into a lobotomized state of social and political illiteracy.’
      • ‘He says theological illiteracy is now rampant.’
      • ‘Americans seem to be particularly notorious for their geographic illiteracy.’
      • ‘What we actually find today is a frightening biblical illiteracy, even in churches where the Bible is regarded as central.’
      • ‘Moreover, this stubborn illiteracy is being actively spread by its fundamentalist churches to other parts of the world.’
      • ‘In an era of biblical illiteracy, this approach will help some.’
      • ‘Ordinarily, such arguments would be dismissed as economic illiteracy.’
      • ‘Of course, scientific illiteracy is a real problem, but it is not the only problem with which rapid scientific advancement confronts us.’
      • ‘Businessmen habitually complain about the economic illiteracy of the public, and with good reason.’

Pronunciation

illiteracy

/ɪ(l)ˈlɪdərəsi//i(l)ˈlidərəsē/