From Late Latin analphabetus (“unable to read and write; illiterate”), from Ancient Greek ἀναλφάβητος (analphábētos, “illiterate”), from ἀν- (an-, “un-”) + ἀλφάβητος (alphábētos, “alphabet”); analysable as an- + alphabet. The English word was probably influenced by cognate words in other languages such as French analphabète (adjective), German Analphabetus, Analphabet (nouns), analphabeten (adjective), Italian analfabeta (adjective, noun), analfabeto (adjective, noun), Portuguese analfabeto (adjective), Spanish analfabeto (adjective, noun).
The adjective was derived from the noun.
analphabet (plural analphabets)
- A person who does not know the letters of the alphabet; a partly or wholly illiterate person. [from mid 17th c.]
analphabet (comparative more analphabet, superlative most analphabet)
- Ignorant of the letters of the alphabet; partly or wholly illiterate. [from mid 17th c.]