lit·​er·​ate | \ ˈli-tə-rət How to pronounce literate (audio) also ˈli-trət \

Definition of literate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : educated, cultured literate executives
b : able to read and write What percentage of the population is literate?
2a : versed in literature or creative writing : literary literate novelists
b : lucid, polished a literate essay
c : having knowledge or competence (see competent sense 2) computer-literate politically literate



Definition of literate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an educated person
2 : a person who can read and write

Other Words from literate


literately adverb
literateness noun

Examples of literate in a Sentence

Adjective She is literate in both English and Spanish. What percentage of the population is literate? The job requires you to be computer literate.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Amid the expanding wealth inequality in the U.S., numerous Black women around the country are making major strides toward a more financially literate future. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 6 Apr. 2022 Turned off by daily tabloids attacking certain royals in spiteful and barely literate terms? Maria Puente, USA TODAY, 26 Apr. 2022 And despite South Carolina’s draconian slave laws, a surprising number of black Charlestonians were literate, opening the community to diverse intellectual influences and subversive communications from antislavery interests. Marc M. Arkin, WSJ, 20 Mar. 2022 Be a well-rounded, sensitive, literate human being. Amby Burfoot, Outside Online, 25 Sep. 2020 Or that my grandma would become computer-literate enough to Zoom with me every few weeks. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 29 Jan. 2022 On the positive side, Gen Z seems poised to be a more financially-literate generation than the Millennials. Erik Huberman, Rolling Stone, 19 Nov. 2021 The hilarious thing about the Ozy story is that any halfway media-literate person could have told you this was a marginal publication in no way suited to eight-figure investments. Ryan Cooper, The Week, 7 Oct. 2021 Kids are incredibly smart and literate and are pulling together all these references. Jonathan Cohen, SPIN, 10 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun By now, any pop culture-literate Internet user is likely well aware of Kim Kardashian's romance with Pete Davidson. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 23 Mar. 2022 Klosterman’s appraisal of the ’90s’ legacy, while limited in some ways (there could have been more about hip-hop, for example, which Klosterman admits), is an engaging, nuanced and literate take on the alternately dynamic and diffident decade. Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2022 While not sequential, each maturity level must be addressed as a business follows its unique path, at its own pace, to develop a data-literate workforce. Sarah Nell-rodriquez, Forbes, 18 Jan. 2022 And don’t be afraid to seek help from a professional, like a grief-literate therapist, if your usual support system leaves something to be desired. Tayla Blaire, Glamour, 11 Jan. 2022 Not everyone has time or interest in becoming a data analyst or data literate, especially now in today's pandemic landscape where teams are understaffed and people are valuing their time differently in and outside of work. Ashley Kramer, Forbes, 4 Jan. 2022 Still, Lorenzen, the mental health counselor, urged people of all ages to be social-media literate. Alexie Zollinger, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Nov. 2021 Salt Lake Community College counselor encourages people to become social media literate. Alexie Zollinger, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Nov. 2021 What comes next is what some in the industry are calling ‘data storytelling’ i.e. the action to put data analytics in the hands of less data-literate employees through narrative techniques. Adrian Bridgwater, Forbes, 3 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of literate


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for literate

Adjective and Noun

Middle English literat, from Latin litteratus marked with letters, literate, from litterae letters, literature, from plural of littera

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Time Traveler for literate

Time Traveler

The first known use of literate was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near literate

literary property



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Statistics for literate

Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Literate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for literate


lit·​er·​ate | \ ˈli-tə-rət How to pronounce literate (audio) \

Kids Definition of literate

1 : able to read and write
2 : having gotten a good education

More from Merriam-Webster on literate

Nglish: Translation of literate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of literate for Arabic Speakers


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