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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 ?
There is plenty of thematic meat, too, as readers explore what grave keeping suggests about our own lives, though literalists will struggle to get past the practical problems of keeping a grave fit to live in for many years.
Part 2 examines challenges to the UDHR from religious literalists, from both US religious groups and Muslim groups in other countries.
Literalists Still Outnumber Skeptics Among Certain Groups
Atheists have always mocked the religious literalists, and this continues to be a major part of their repertoire today.
Sookocheff's decision to make the imaginary world reflect the colour and shapes of the workaday objects that inspired it adds to the humour but also shows how Buddy and the rest of us literalists can be transported under the spell of a compelling storyteller.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry told journalists not to use the following terms: Islamists, Islamic groups, jihadists, jihadis, sheikhs, emirs, ulamas, ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State , fundamentalists, puritans, and literalists.
However, as an umbrella for a wide variety of Muslim organisations it was prone to internal divisions and rifts between traditionalists and radical literalists, with moderate reformists under Natsir trying to bridge these differences.
It appeared to be a slippery slope to unbelief, and the more the literalists defended the Bible against evolution, the louder they proclaimed its literal inerrancy.
Far from being textual literalists, their illiberalism tends toward the vague, populist variety.
The mind set of Islamists, literalists and their sympathisers is rooted in the 6th century.
Vishanoff makes an insightful connection between the Zahirls, who are the paradigmatic literalists of Islamic intellectual history, and Mdtazili theologians from Basra, showing that both operated on the assumption that the message of revelation is clear in and of itself and thus that complex hermeneutical techniques, especially extralingual extensions of the text, constitute unnecessary and unacceptable impositions on the divine message.
Professor Paul Braterman said: "We are seeing a concerted, co-ordinated attempt by creationist, fringe Christian Biblical literalists to infiltrate their extreme views into ordinary education.