1. Of, relating to, or being a culture not having a written language.
2. Of, relating to, or being one who has not yet acquired or developed literacy skills: picture books for preliterate children.
1. A person who is preliterate.
2. (used with a plural verb) People who are preliterate, considered as a group.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.