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pl.n. (used with a sing. verb)
1. Literature regarded for its aesthetic value rather than its didactic or informative content.
2. Light, stylish writings, usually on literary or intellectual subjects.

[French : belles, fine + lettres, letters, literature.]


(French bɛllɛtrə)
(Literary & Literary Critical Movements) (functioning as singular) literary works, esp essays and poetry, valued for their aesthetic rather than their informative or moral content
[C17: from French: fine letters]


(Fr. bɛlˈlɛ trə)

(used with a sing. v.) literature that is polished and elegant and often inconsequential in subject or scope.
[1700–10;< French: literally, fine letters. See belle, letter]
bel•let′rist (-trɪst) n.
bel`let•ris′tic (-lɪˈtrɪs tɪk) adj.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.belles-lettres - creative writing valued for esthetic contentbelles-lettres - creative writing valued for esthetic content
literary composition, literary work - imaginative or creative writing


[ˈbelˈletr] NPLbellas letras fpl
References in classic literature ?
A competent knowledge of history and of the belles-lettres is here absolutely necessary; and without this share of knowledge at least, to affect the character of an historian, is as vain as to endeavour at building a house without timber or mortar, or brick or stone.
So are made the belles-lettres and the beaux-arts and their professors.
The project proposes a reinterpretation of the historic english garden, the development of a more contemporary space by the development of the park of the banks, which proposes green spaces of relaxation and spaces of plots of games, relaxation and animations as well as by the redevelopment of the traffic along the lake, the promenade des belles-lettres.
Most of the 26 papers (11 in French) are from an international conference in Paris during November and December 2012 on the Arab-Islamic notion of adab which covers a range of meanings, including good behavior, knowledge of manners, etiquette, rules, belles-lettres, and literature.
Like Mary Strangways' piece, 'The Voice and its Use in Song', it belongs to the now neglected genre of belles-lettres.
We mostly translate belles-lettres or histories of women hurt by Islam or Arabs (unfortunately), but everything depends on the personal taste of a translator.
He has written and composed over 200 songs, a biography, Belles-lettres, novels and poetry.
He's not one of the luminaries in the field of belles-lettres.
It is enough to consider Adam Smith's and Hugh Blair's famous lectures on rhetoric, or the several German handbooks on "schonen Wissenshaften" and "Beredsamkeit" (in other words, belles-lettres and eloquence) in the second half of eighteenth and of the first decades of nineteenth centuries.
Here through the belles-lettres further is discussed the moral and spiritual level not on a scale of separate individual but of the sited region within the territorial limits (Basia Nikiforova).
C'est cette rencontre qui m'a donne le gout de la quete des belles-lettres de toutes rives.