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1. Of, relating to, or dealing with literature: literary criticism.
2. Of or relating to writers or the profession of literature: literary circles.
3. Versed in or fond of literature or learning.
a. Appropriate to literature rather than everyday speech or writing.
b. Bookish; pedantic.

[Latin litterārius, of reading and writing, from littera, lītera, letter; see letter.]

lit′er·ar′i·ly (-râr′ə-lē) adv.
lit′er·ar′i·ness n.


(ˈlɪtərərɪ; ˈlɪtrərɪ)
1. of, relating to, concerned with, or characteristic of literature or scholarly writing: a literary discussion; a literary style.
2. versed in or knowledgeable about literature: a literary man.
3. (of a word) formal; not colloquial
[C17: from Latin litterārius concerning reading and writing. See letter]
ˈliterarily adv
ˈliterariness n


(ˈlɪt əˌrɛr i)

1. pertaining to or of the nature of books and writings, esp. those classed as literature: literary history.
2. pertaining to authorship: literary style.
3. versed in or acquainted with literature; well-read.
4. engaged in or having the profession of literature or writing: a literary man.
5. preferring books to actual experience; bookish.
[1640–50; < Latin līterārius,litterārius of reading and writing. See letter, -ary]
lit′er•ar`i•ly, adv.
lit′er•ar`i•ness, n.


  • cenacle - A discussion group or literary clique—also, a small dining room where a literary or philosophic group eats and talks (from Latin cena, "dinner"), such as the room in which the Last Supper was held.
  • literary - A painting or sculpture that depicts a story can be described as "literary."
  • opuscule - A diminutive of opus, meaning a minor or small work, literary or musical.
  • copyright - Literally, "the right to reproduce" one's own work or authorize others to do so; copyright protects original artistic, literary, dramatic, musical, and intellectual work in a tangible medium.


1. 'literal'

The literal meaning of a word is its most basic meaning.

She was older than I was, and not only in the literal sense.
The literal meaning of the Greek word hamartia, translated as sin, is 'missing the mark'.
2. 'literary'

Literary words and expressions are used to create a special effect in poems or novels, and are not usually used in ordinary speech or writing.

'Awaken' and 'waken' are old-fashioned or literary words.

Literary also means 'connected with literature'.

...literary critics.
...literary magazines.
3. 'literate'

A literate person is able to read and write.

Only half the children are literate.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.literary - of or relating to or characteristic of literature; "literary criticism"
2.literary - knowledgeable about literature; "a literary style"
literate - versed in literature; dealing with literature
3.literary - appropriate to literature rather than everyday speech or writing; "when trying to impress someone she spoke in an affected literary style"
formal - (of spoken and written language) adhering to traditional standards of correctness and without casual, contracted, and colloquial forms; "the paper was written in formal English"


adjective well-read, lettered, learned, formal, intellectual, scholarly, literate, erudite, bookish a literary masterpiece


Characterized by a narrow concern for book learning and formal rules, without knowledge or experience of practical matters:
أدَبيواسِع المَعْرِفَه بالكُتُب
bóka-, bókmennta-sem er vel aî sér í bókmenntum
literāri izglītotsliterārs
aydınçok okumuşedebîyazınsal


A. ADJ [prize, award] → de literatura, literario
literary circlescírculos mpl literarios
a literary manun hombre de letras
it's a literary masterpiecees una obra maestra de la literatura
the literary sceneel ambiente literario, los círculos literarios
a literary workuna obra literaria or de literatura
B. CPD literary agent Nagente mf literario/a
literary critic Ncrítico/a m/f literario/a
literary criticism Ncrítica f literaria
literary history Nhistoria f de la literatura
literary studies NPLestudios mpl de literatura, estudios mpl literarios
literary theory Nteoría f de la literatura, teoría f literaria


[ˈlɪtərəri] adjlittéraireliterary criticism ncritique f littéraire


adjliterarisch; he has literary tasteser interessiert sich für Literatur; a literary manein Literaturkenner m; (= author)ein Literat or Autor m; the literary scenedie Literaturszene


literary agent
nLiteraturagent(in) m(f)
literary critic
nLiteraturkritiker(in) m(f)
literary criticism
n (as subject) → Literaturwissenschaft f; (= reviews)Literaturkritik f
literary historian
nLiteraturhistoriker(in) m(f)
literary theory
nLiteraturtheorie f


[ˈlɪtrərɪ] adjletterario/a
a literary man → un letterato


(ˈlitərəri) adjective
1. concerning literature or the writing of books. a literary magazine.
2. (of a person) knowledgeable about books.
References in periodicals archive ?
His is critical of the academy and primarily literarily engaged, but with political concerns.
It aspires to be a black comedy in the literarily wise-cracking style of Tom Stoppard with many a self-referential tip of the hat to Pirandello.
Have we forgotten that Oke was heavily and openly supported by Lagos through the Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who literarily took over the campaigns through Bola Ilori?
Each phrase seemed to be encased in lead and before I'd 'stroked' my way past the first 20 pages, I could feel a sense of drowning, literarily of course.
Literarily meaning 'engagement ring', this name leads to inevitable jokes while asking for directions.
They have literarily dragged the nation into the abyss.
In a time of literarily impoverished general American culture, the art and craft and articulate passion of poetry is alive and well.
More literarily convincing and existentially urgent than numerous current-affairs books, newspaper reports, and travel writing, Lodgers stands out as a poignant document of a turbulent era and its aesthetic overcoming at the same time, demonstrating that the right place to seek an innovative Bosnian spirit is not only in the much-touted folklore of jokes but in works of literary imagination as well.
All this is accessibly written and cogently presented, though definitely not for the literarily critical faint of heart.
Gyozo says young writers are struggling to accept and invent new ways of thinking literarily in regions where the iron is no longer hot (to quote Ales Debeljak's call for a timely attention to Slovene writing during the third Balkan wars), and where poetry, long inextricable from political expression, finds itself no longer in opposition to regimes, censorship, and so on.
Our guide through the evening, Daniels has the trickiest part, talking in two distinct accents (depending on von Horvath's partner in conversation) while bearing witness to people whose lives inevitably seem more florid and tragic and literarily suggestive than his own.
- and literarily - intermingling traditions such as historical romance, realism, allegory, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery - it does so not because the novel is struggling "to find a form that will contain the confusions of its utterance" or because it is a "discourse .