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

  • adj. Able to read and write.
  • adj. Knowledgeable or educated in a particular field or fields.
  • adj. Familiar with literature; literary.
  • adj. Well-written; polished: a literate essay.
  • n. One who can read and write.
  • n. A well-informed, educated person.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Able to read and write; having literacy.
  • adj. Knowledgeable in literature, writing; literary; well-read.
  • adj. Which is used in writing (of a language or dialect).
  • n. A person who is able to read and write

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Instructed in learning, science, or literature; learned; lettered.
  • n. One educated, but not having taken a university degree; especially, such a person who is prepared to take holy orders.
  • n. A literary man.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having a knowledge of letters; possessing education; instructed: opposed to illiterate.
  • Of or pertaining to letters; learned; literary.
  • Marked with short, angulated lines resembling letters: applied to the surfaces of shells and insects.
  • n. A man of letters; a learned or literary man.
  • n. An educated man who has not taken a university degree; especially, a candidate for holy orders who has not been educated at a university.
  • n. One who can read and write: opposed to illiterate.

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

  • n. a person who can read and write
  • adj. knowledgeable and educated in one or several fields
  • adj. versed in literature; dealing with literature
  • adj. able to read and write


Middle English litterate, from Latin litterātus, from littera, lītera, letter; see letter.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin litteratus. (Wiktionary)



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