from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Of, relating to, or being a culture not having a written language.
- n. A person belonging to such a culture.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. that has not yet developed a written language
- adj. who has not yet learned to read and write
- n. a member of such a culture
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adj. not yet having acquired the ability to read and write
- adj. used of a society that has not developed writing
Sorry, no etymologies found.
In the end I found both 'preliterate' and 'preliteracy' in the 1961 edition of Webster's New International Dictionary.
Neither 'preliterate' nor 'preliteracy' are registered in the 1942 Chicago Dictionary of American English.
The 1949 edition of the Funk and Wagnall New Standard Dictionary lists 'preliterate' only.
She learned the world, she writes, through her senses, through a "preliterate" understanding of the world.
In preliterate societies, in the absence of artificial means of fertility regulation, pregnancies are spaced several years apart by unconscious physiological mechanisms based on breastfeeding.
In preliterate and in preindustrial urban societies, socially successful individuals commonly had larger than average families.
New Dan Brown book expected to create rip in space time continuum, reverting human beings to a preliterate culture.
Lift the frame, and you reveal a capital letter: It ' s simple and elegant, and makes perfect sense for preliterate persons.
Moreover, this method does not depend on access to prerecorded texts, which makes it an ideal tool for writing histories of preliterate societies.
Some sort of collapse, nervous or physical, after going through similar experiences as Kirn's, seems mandatory for Ivy League initiates: "My education was running in reverse as my mind shed its outermost layer of signs and symbols and shrank back to its dumb, preliterate core."