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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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˈbelˈletr] NPLbellas letras fpl
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
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 release of a major collection of Joseph Epstein's essays stands as something of an event in the world of belles-lettres. And the world of belles-lettres isn't one with many events.
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.
Dorothy Dudley Short's exploration of 'Music, Art and Life' is prone to sweeping statements such as, 'Music differs from the other arts in that it does not make use of the symbols of everyday life.' Like Mary Strangways' piece, 'The Voice and its Use in Song', it belongs to the now neglected genre of belles-lettres. But some of the other musical items retain their interest, including Percy Colson's 'Music News and Notes'.
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. You don't have to have him on your bookshelf to show that you are discerning and intelligent, even if you haven't read the thing.
A particular interest in the NW Middle Indic dialects, as evidenced in the Agokan inscriptions in Kharosthi script ("Connections between Asokan (Shahba-zgarhi) and Niya Prakrit?" 1992), in the Gandhari Dharmapada ("Forms of the Future in the Gandhari Dharmapada," 1977-78), in the Niya documents ("Notes grammaticales sur les documents Kharosthi de Niya," 1990), and in the recently discovered Buddhist Gandhari documents ("Manuscrits boud-dhiques du Gandhara," a "note d'information" regarding these documents presented to the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, is the last article reproduced in this volume), also regularly surfaces throughout her career.
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).