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1. Adherence to the explicit sense of a given text or doctrine.
2. Literal portrayal; realism.

lit′er·al·ist n.
lit′er·al·is′tic adj.


1. the disposition to take words and statements in their literal sense
2. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) literal or realistic portrayal in art or literature
3. (Art Terms) literal or realistic portrayal in art or literature
ˈliteralist n
ˌliteralˈistic adj
ˌliteralˈistically adv


(ˈlɪt ər əˌlɪz əm)

1. adherence to the exact letter or to the literal sense, as in translation or interpretation.
2. exact representation or portrayal, without idealization, as in art or literature.
lit′er•al•ist, n.
lit`er•al•is′tic, adj.


1. fundamentalism.
2. Scripturalism. — literalist, n., adj.
See also: Bible
the practice or theory of following the letter or literal sense of something written. — literalist, n.
See also: Alphabet
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.literalism - the doctrine of realistic (literal) portrayal in art or literature
doctrine, ism, philosophical system, philosophy, school of thought - a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school
2.literalism - a disposition to interpret statements in their literal sense
inclination, tendency, disposition - an attitude of mind especially one that favors one alternative over others; "he had an inclination to give up too easily"; "a tendency to be too strict"
References in periodicals archive ?
Those who tend toward biblical literalism sometimes express concern for Paul's presentation of himself as a father of the church, a concern that carries over to using the word "father" in other religious contexts as well.
Defenders of Darwinian theory present the conflict between unguided evolution and intelligent design as if it had not advanced one bit since Clarence Darrow jousted with William Jennings Bryan over Biblical literalism before a courthouse crowd in 1925.
Charles Moseley's evocative essay about how medieval people saw and related to the Bible and the Book of Nature ends quite sadly: 'we are on the outside, looking in, and all we can do is write essays about it' (194) But part of the success of this volume is to make us aware of relations between the scriptures and the human imagination of great richness that make our current choice between literalism and liberalism in exegesis seem all the poorer.
For a long time now in seminary, the assumption has been that leaders should assume that the first naivete is a dogged, uncritical biblical literalism.
Officials in Kentucky have decided not to grant $18 million in tax incentives to a fundamentalist theme park called "Ark Encounter" that promotes creationist ideas and biblical literalism.
Long-term biblical literalism has declined some, while a secular take on the Bible has become more common.
Taylor's sculptural work engages in a playful back-and-forth between literalism and illusion, figuration and abstraction, never quite settling on one or the other.
Again I open the door, / this time to deny the literalism of history.
With 1950s flair, some gowns skirted the border of literalism, with music notes and open compositions decorating the bodice of one gown.
Pray Tell said the German-speaking bishops "were fundamentally opposed to language in the liturgy which is not the language of people, and opposed to the literalism demanded by Rome.
He discusses the holy marriage, relevance theory and translation, syntax in Luke 1:1-4, when a priest is not a priest, still looking for clues, repetitive texture and four kinds of literalism, and the experimental translation.
The general theme of the book is that the advocates of strict textual literalism, identified as "Atharis," opposed the rationalism involved in theology ('ilm al-kalam) and were victorious by the fifteenth century.