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

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 Many attempts have been made to transliterate Chinese in the Latin alphabet. Ian Buruma, The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 The government has also vowed to transliterate candidates’ names in 2021 – a strategy not required by law but used in nearby Boston to make ballots less confusing for Chinese speakers. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Jan. 2021 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, 25 Sep. 2019 But technically, the first word of the name is the Korean idiom that transliterates as sohn-mat. Julia Kramer, Bon Appétit, 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, 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, 27 June 2018 Her name, formerly transliterated as Chan Sheng Mai, means Plum Blossom. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2018 The crowd sang songs from the Psalms, following transliterated Hebrew on giant television screens. Emma Green, The Atlantic, 20 Oct. 2017 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near transliterate

translatory motion



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Cite this Entry

“Transliterate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on transliterate

Britannica English: Translation of transliterate for Arabic Speakers


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