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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 ?
The state Police Command confirmed the latest onslaught of the herdsmen, who have literarily laid siege to the state early this year killing hundreds in the process.
In the polyphonic composition The Dance of the Blissful, rendering Fra Angelico's painting, the pianist literarily conjures with timbres, with his piano many a time sounding like heavenly tender organ registers.
From affordable every day carry models, to working their way up through midrange to high end, there is literarily something for everyone in the company's line-up.
Squeezed out of Palestine, Syria, Lebanon - and recently Iraq, after Saudi Arabia put its weight behind talks with top Shiite figures - Tamim finds himself literarily toothless in Arab politics, denied the ability to solve problems throughout the region - but still capable, however, of stirring havoc and chaos.
Privileging the sonnet, Gambara literarily treats pertinent political issues (for instance, the conflicts between Charles V, the Ottoman Empire and Francis I), surroundings (including her ancestral home of Brescia and her domain of Correggio), as well as dedicating lyrics to, commenting on and corresponding with significant political and cultural figures, including Charles V, Vittoria Colonna and Alfonso d'Avalos.
The Yoruba also remark to slim persons, especially those who eat a lot as "o je je, ko bun ara je", literarily meaning "he/she eats and eats but does not give the body".
This is funny stuff for poets, cat lovers, poetic cats, catty poets and whoever else might appreciate a literarily inclined laugh.
Our literarily heritage is common and Hafez Shirazi, Saadi Shirazi, Jami, Ferdowsi are popular in Pakistan as Iqbal Lahori is quite popular in Iran," he added.
Central to this study is the trope of silences and silencing within families and societies as a whole in a manner that "positions [Toibin] within a long tradition of Irish narrative and cultural practices of silence that have had such positive results literarily, but such devastating consequences as enacted socially" (20).
The patchwork approach, which manifests itself both visually and literarily in EDGEWISE, resonates with Mueller's reflection on her posthumously published collection of short stories, Garden of Ashes (1990):
He argues that the rabbis treated this form of ritual speech--legally, literarily, and attitudinally--as they treated other forms of conventional prayer.
He also sponsored the travel of the Jesuit monk Bento de Gois, born in Azores, Portugal, from the subcontinent to China in order to scientifically testify that the land visited and literarily depicted by the Italian Marco Polo was geographically the same as the one the Portuguese navigators had reached in the Xvith century.