noun, plural il·lit·er·a·cies for 3.

  1. a lack of ability to read and write.
  2. the state of being illiterate; lack of any or enough education.
  3. a mistake in writing or speaking, felt to be characteristic of an illiterate or semiliterate person: a letter that was full of illiteracies.

1650s, from illiterate + -cy. Earlier in this sense was illiterature (1590s).

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