Meaning of semi-literate in English:


Pronunciation /ˌsɛmɪˈlɪt(ə)rət/


  • 1Unable to read or write with ease or fluency; poorly educated.

    ‘a high proportion of the population is still relatively poor and semi-literate’
    • ‘Furthermore, its efforts are only attractive to the elderly who are eager to learn to read and write and less attractive to the semi-literate youth who want to acquire skills that would turn them into entrepreneurs and artisans.’
    • ‘Her own grandmother probably belonged to that semi-literate mass of women who could read fluently, but not write or ‘figure’.’
    • ‘The spectacle of the semi-literate president instructing laid-off workers to ‘go get an education’ provided one of the most memorable impressions of the evening.’
    • ‘It's only natural that we'd start looking for ‘synergies’, and try to replace ten bloggers with one semi-literate goof in the hopes that readers won't notice. The mind boggles.’
    • ‘But apparently, the economically semi-literate numbskulls at the New Pravda - and the rest of the mainstream press - still can't be bothered to get the facts straight.’
    • ‘Also, semi-literate women should be accorded priority in training to operate the centre, since this is an effective method of enhancing the self-esteem and social prestige of women living in poverty.’
    • ‘This is a residential program for illiterate to semi-literate girls between 12 and 18 years with the ambitious objective of returning them to Class 5 in formal schools.’
    • ‘Combine television viewing with countless hours logged onto the Internet, and one could argue that Americans have degenerated into a society of semi-literate loners.’
    • ‘Because I've had this argument a couple of times, and the semi-literate conservatives are always sheepish, a little ashamed, of their lack of writing talent.’
    • ‘The idea is that a sports writer and a couple of semi-literate ex-players try to work themselves up about this or that issue, and give bold predictions about a player or team's future prospects.’
    • ‘Hmm, second time this year I've been on the receiving end of a stream of semi-literate invective (spot the grammatical errors in it).’
    • ‘Perhaps your writer has become confused after reading through too many press releases written by semi-literate American PR people, or perhaps he is foreign himself.’
    • ‘Most of these men were semi-literate, speaking only Malayalam and ignorant of the territory and hence strangers to the Urdu speaking Pakistanis.’
    • ‘They were semi-literate with very little English.’
    • ‘His father was a poor cobbler with great cultural aspirations and his mother a semi-literate washerwoman.’
    • ‘My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.’
    • ‘Eventually he led me to a semi-literate jewellery salesman with wide-set eyes and a penchant for gold chains.’
    • ‘The leadership passed from intellectuals to semi-literate demagogues.’
    • ‘Illiterate and semi-literate women are operating and repairing energy systems.’
    1. 1.1(of a text) poorly written.
      ‘the semi-literate glossies’
      • ‘Or, if deciding between right or wrong was too taxing, they could simply text in semi-literate messages to the show instead.’
      • ‘As well as a few semi-literate requests for obscure albums, we are now apparently subscribed to Reclusion's newsletter.’
      • ‘Theresa is depicted with all her boyfriends and their semi-literate love/hate letters.’
      • ‘It is doubtless the case that many slush-pile readers use the ‘basic command of English’ test as a preliminary filter; they discard immediately those books which may be described as semi-literate.’
      • ‘The first was the semi-literate, naive nature of the letters implying these are some of the least educated, least switched on members of society, often on income support or some other kind of benefit.’


  • A person who is poorly educated or unable to read or write with ease or fluency.