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

Stan Steiner, who teaches literacy to prospective teachers, has collected children's and young adult books since the early 1970s. David Staats, idahostatesman, "Want to give a child a good book? This sale at BSU offers 40,000 from $1 to $10 each | Idaho Statesman," 11 May 2018 On a sunny afternoon at the Alessandro Volta junior-middle school in Latina, 50km south of Rome, Massimo Alvisi, who teaches digital literacy, runs through some of the topics the rumbustious children in front of him have covered this year. The Economist, "Russian disinformation distorts American and European democracy," 24 Feb. 2018 Barbara Bush The former First Lady who advocated for literacy and Bush family matriarch died at age 92 in April. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "In Memoriam: All of the Celebrities, Politicians, and Notable People Who Died in 2018," 13 Dec. 2018 Students in the city’s preschool program, which the levy would grow to 2,500 seats, have made gains in literacy and language skills, according to a new evaluation. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Seattle property-tax levy to test voters’ generosity toward education," 15 Oct. 2018 The camp included college representatives from the University of Texas, Prairie View A&M and Lone Star, superintendent of schools LaTonya Goffney discussing financial aid, financial literacy and college prep. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Giants safety Michael Thomas (Aldine Nimitz) awards scholarship at camp," 29 June 2018 The event focuses on early literacy and encourages enrollment in high quality early childhood environments. Laura Groch,, "North County School News, June 21," 21 June 2018 Missing Out Starting in 2002, investments in education from ’02 led to increases in literacy and school attendance rates. Abigail Abrams, Time, "Why So Many Afghan Girls Are No Longer at School," 7 June 2018 Throughout her career, Hobson has made financial literacy and community outreach a priority. Jonathan Sperling, Fortune, "Mellody Hobson Will Become Starbucks Vice Chair After Howard Schultz Departure," 5 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near literacy






literal contract


Statistics for literacy

Last Updated

24 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for literacy

The first known use of literacy was in 1880

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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

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Comments on literacy

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marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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