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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 ?
While it would be quite easy for even a literarily unprepared reader to follow the fluent discourse of Kaplinski and Priimagi, entering Katkestuse kultuur would mean intruding into the territory of those consecrated in the language of the latest French poststructuralists, deconstructionists, postvanguardists, et cetera.
Other stories are less successful: they are either too surreal to reach a general readership, such as an excerpt from Utrpeni oddaneho vsivaka (The Sufferings of a Devoted Scoundrel) by Alexandra Berkova, too literarily self-conscious (Jiri Kratochvil's parody on the Czech literary climate in the 1960s, "The Story of King Candaules"), or too forced in originality, as is the excerpt from Tereza Bouckova's Krepelice (Quail), involving deception and intrigue against the background of the political events in Czechoslovakia of the 1970s.
This work has gained fame for Arevalo as well as for Barba Jacob, the Colombian, with whom Arevalo was frequently linked both literarily and physically.
1926) was never one to be pigeonholed, either personally, professionally, or literarily.
This considerably affected his articles, several of which were literarily avant-garde in their own right, and also influenced his own literary writing.
Its theoretical apparatus preceding the selections, though, lacks the sancta simplicitas and Hellenic lucidity of terms used by authors as different as Lawrence Durrell and Richard Stone and Henry Miller as they endeavor to define literarily Greece's ancient and modern "spirit of place.
Their works, covering a span of eight years (1985-93), record a literarily most creative and ideologically most provocative period in modern Chinese literature.
It is to this inquiry, the exploration of this "land of fear" -- as literarily evident as it is skillfully and ironically invoked-that the following pages are dedicated.
I mean something archeological in the sense that I have come upon gold mines or graves in these places, which allow me to excavate elements of my own continent and make them existentially and literarily fruitful.
Literarily, Ali Ahmad Said, who uses the pen name Adonis, never budged.
In his younger days he worked in a variety of fields, literarily, as a 'jackroo' (farm hand) and tree surgeon and went on to become a chauffeur and even a cross-country ski instructor.
Martin that takes the reader on a truly impressive visual journey into the world of cranberries that goes quite literarily from the marshes where they grow to some truly nutritious and delicious cranberry cuisine.