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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 ?
Americans' growing interest in the Apocalypse forms part of a worldwide phenomenon, said Sachs, with conservative, literalistic, fundamentalistic movements in religion taking place in vast areas of the world today.
Needless to say, Abu Zaid's criticism of the literalistic views about the Quran by the extremist Islamic associations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, did not go down well with the authorities.
Though inconsequential in the chronology, this change in editorial policy, when combined with literalistic, word-for-word indexing of the text, results in two index entries for Riley (one for "Riley, Terry," another for "Riley, Terry Mitchell"), the former referring to entries reprinted from the fifth edition, the latter referring to entries added for the sixth edition.
Founded by Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792), Wahhabism preaches a return to a primitive, fundamentalist Islam that relies primarily on a literalistic reading of the Koran and denies the rich cultural aspects which developed in the eighteenth century (including the contributions of philosophy, intellectualism, art, music, and the like).
In a joint work, (20) Padilla stresses the necessity for theological reflection and of a hermeneutic in a context where to affirm the authority of the Bible has resulted in a literalistic interpretation and the automatic reproduction of conservative Anglo-Saxon theology.
When Bunting says that he was brought up 'entirely in a Quaker atmosphere', one of the things he means is a great deal of Bible reading, yet obviously Genesis is featuring here not in a staid, literalistic sense but at a powerful, imaginative level.
Victorinus is no proponent of a literalistic hermeneutic, and Curti has compared many of his more allegorical interpretations to those of Origen.
Southard also judges the papal visit to be "perhaps" the explanation, but adds that the assignment of "considerable freedom" to the artist may be a "too literalistic interpretation," as it does not mention any verbal agreements.
8) The way to avoid accusations of atheism or pandering was to adopt the self-consciously pedantic, literalistic, non-combative narrative tone epitomized by the prolific Puritan Robert Boyle and vaunted by the Royal Society?
Depending on origin, degree of indigenization and autochthony, Pentecostal churches may be more hierarchical or more democratic; open to cooperation with other Christians, or closed; interested in serious biblical theological reflection, or simply literalistic (in terms of the Scriptures).
Her basic material for this tapestry is a "colloquial, literalistic language that strives to become numinous" (Breslin 58).
Langdon Gilkey of the Chicago Divinity School, criticizing the proposed Arkansas law (Act 590), which would have mandated teaching creationism in public school biology classes, warned of potential threats from such a tactic: "It tacitly equates religion, and Christianity, with a literalistic fundamentalism.