preliterate

adjective
pre·​lit·​er·​ate | \ ˌprē-ˈli-t(ə-)rət How to pronounce preliterate (audio) \

Definition of preliterate

1a : not yet employing writing as a cultural medium
b : lacking the use of writing
2 : antedating the use of writing

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from preliterate

preliterate noun

Examples of preliterate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The enormous number of dog burials unearthed from the period between 14,000 and 4,000 years ago indicates the esteem preliterate societies had for dogs. Longreads, "The Way We Treat Our Pets Is More Paleolithic Than Medieval," 22 Mar. 2018

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

First Known Use of preliterate

1925, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about preliterate

Statistics for preliterate

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for preliterate

The first known use of preliterate was in 1925

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on preliterate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with preliterate

Comments on preliterate

What made you want to look up preliterate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!