Scribe (Latin scrivere, “to write”), person hired to write out letters, books, and documents by hand. Scribes were particularly important in ancient times, as most people were illiterate. They were involved in legal, political, and business transactions as well as personal communication. In Europe, before the widespread use of the movable-type printing press, many books were copied out by monks, one of the most literate segments of the population. Highly trained scribes are still used to copy out Jewish sacred texts according to precise ritual standards.