lit·​er·​a·​cy | \ ˈli-t(ə-)rə-sē How to pronounce literacy (audio) \

Definition of literacy

: the quality or state of being literate a program to promote adult literacy

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Examples of literacy in a Sentence

The program is intended to promote adult literacy among people who have had very little schooling. Their goal is to achieve basic literacy.
Recent Examples on the Web Teens will be introduced to Junior Toastmasters, financial literacy, job training skills and entrepreneurship. Arkansas Online, 12 July 2021 Yes, our literacy programs focus on women that never attended school. Rod Berger, Forbes, 29 June 2021 The nonprofit organization in Boynton Beach will run the charity fundraiser to assist in providing adults and children in need with links to literacy programs. Alex Kushel,, 13 May 2021 Helpful financial literacy programs will be available for everyone from preschoolers to college students and from young couples starting jobs and wanting to buy a new home to retirees who need to manage their money and stretch their savings. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 1 Apr. 2021 Funds raised will be used to bolster braille literacy programs for blind children and adults., 13 Mar. 2021 According to DeLisa, the idea for the park was born out of poor literacy and a need for family entertainment in the region. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 1 July 2021 Hidalgo calmly replied that the bill—which would limit voting hours, forbid drive-through voting, and embolden partisan poll watchers—was no different from a literacy test or a poll tax. Stephania Taladri, The New Yorker, 28 June 2021 Barbara Creaser was devoted to sharing the gift of literacy, served as the Language Arts Consultant for Barkhamsted School in CT from 1976 to 2001, and continued her generous efforts as an ESL teacher through her retirement., 19 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'literacy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of literacy

1880, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for literacy

Time Traveler

The first known use of literacy was in 1880

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Dictionary Entries Near literacy






literal contract


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Statistics for literacy

Last Updated

20 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Literacy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for literacy



English Language Learners Definition of literacy

: the ability to read and write
: knowledge that relates to a specified subject

More from Merriam-Webster on literacy

Nglish: Translation of literacy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of literacy for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about literacy


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