trans·​lit·​er·​ate | \ tran(t)s-ˈli-tə-ˌrāt How to pronounce transliterate (audio) , tranz- \
transliterated; transliterating

Definition of transliterate

transitive verb

: to represent or spell in the characters of another alphabet

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Other Words from transliterate

transliteration \ (ˌ)tran(t)s-​ˌli-​tə-​ˈrā-​shən How to pronounce transliterate (audio) , (ˌ)tranz-​ \ noun

Examples of transliterate in a Sentence

The Russian letter Я is usually transliterated in English as ya or ia.
Recent Examples on the Web The confusion stems from the fact that his native Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, and there is no standardized way of transliterating names into the Latin alphabet. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz, "How many Y’s are in Volodymyr Zelensky(y)’s name?," 25 Sep. 2019 But technically, the first word of the name is the Korean idiom that transliterates as sohn-mat. Julia Kramer, Bon Appétit, "This 8-Seat Hand Roll Counter in Seattle Is My Lunchtime Happy Place," 9 July 2019 The name of Samarn Poonan, the Thai Navy SEAL who died in the cave rescue efforts, was transliterated as Saman Kunan, in an earlier photo caption with this article. Wilawan Watcharasakwet And Phred Dvorak, WSJ, "Thailand Cave Rescue: Former Thai Navy SEAL Dies After Diving Operation," 6 July 2018 This was a work, after all, that transliterated a 19th-centry French opera depicting the supposedly lusty, homicidal nature of Gypsies into a 20th-century spectacle depicting the supposedly lusty, homicidal nature of black people. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Bad Girl Makes Good in a Glorious ‘Carmen Jones’," 27 June 2018 Her name, formerly transliterated as Chan Sheng Mai, means Plum Blossom. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Anna Chennault, secret Nixon envoy, Washington figure of ‘glamour and mystery,’ dies at 94," 3 Apr. 2018 The crowd sang songs from the Psalms, following transliterated Hebrew on giant television screens. Emma Green, The Atlantic, "White Evangelicals Used to Dominate Christian Zionism, but Not Anymore," 20 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'transliterate.' 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 transliterate

1835, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for transliterate

trans- + Latin littera letter

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Time Traveler for transliterate

Time Traveler

The first known use of transliterate was in 1835

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Cite this Entry

“Transliterate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for transliterate


How to pronounce transliterate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of transliterate

: to write words or letters in the characters of another alphabet

More from Merriam-Webster on transliterate

Britannica English: Translation of transliterate for Arabic Speakers

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