Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Not adept at reading and writing; deficient in the knowledge that can be acquired from books.
  • adj. Illiterate.
  • adj. Having no lettering: a plain, unlettered T-shirt.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. not instructed in letters; not well educated; unable to read
  • adj. not expressed in or marked with letters

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Unlearned; untaught; ignorant; illiterate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. uneducated in general; lacking knowledge or sophistication
  • adj. having little acquaintance with writing

Etymologies

un- +‎ lettered (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He said that nobody with Trace's education would EVER used an "unlettered" dialect.

    back in the swing

  • Leonardo described himself as "unlettered" because he was unable to read Latin, the language used by other Renaissance intellectuals.

    Da Vinci: The Pith Behind the Man

  • This post with its piece of bark was neither more nor less than a letter, such as unlettered men in all ages have used for holding intercourse with absent friends.

    The Walrus Hunters A Romance of the Realms of Ice

  • The how and wherefore it is unnecessary to explain, but some of the cleverest and best-bred people of this well-bred and clever capital took us by the hand, all "unlettered" as we were, and from that moment, taking into consideration our tastes and my health, the question has been, not how to get into, but how to keep out of, the great world.

    Recollections of Europe

  • "unlettered;" that they often conduce to the "tyranny of the unwise majority"; that they undermine parliaments, ties the hands of cabinets, and generally lead to weakened or ungovernable states.

    TrinidadExpress Today's News

  • Do these same people bother to go read to unlettered children, build for the disadvantaged, feed the hungry, hold a small child at an orphanage or clean the animal cages at a shelter?.

    Tea Party Express cruises through Nevada

  • CNN, PLEASE, PLEASE stop featuring this unlettered and uneducated woman.

    Palin slams Senate health care vote

  • Sarah Palin is an unlettered, ignorant woman and ought to be ignored.

    Palin calls for Obama to boycott climate change conference

  • For the immense crowd of the unlettered, the multitude which had neither psalter nor missal and whose only book was the church, it was necessary to give concrete form to abstract thought.

    The Theology and Metaphysics of the Gothic Cathedral - part 2

  • And yet I found Colonel Ingram situated the same as the unlettered mechanics.

    Chapter 4: Slaves of the Machine

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