Definition of literary in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlidəˌrerē/


1 [attributive] Concerning the writing, study, or content of literature, especially of the kind valued for quality of form: the great literary works of the nineteenth century
More example sentences
  • The second broad topic of dissension concerns the modes of analysis in literary and cultural studies.
  • These ideas have gained a lot of currency in the study of literary genres.
  • Eventually, he found an agent after one of his short stories was published in a literary magazine.
written, poetic, artistic, dramatic
1.1Concerned with literature as a profession: it was signed by such literary figures as Maya Angelou
More example sentences
  • The support of leading literary figures, Burns scholars and leading entertainers lent weight to the cause.
  • Considered to be an immense literary figure, he earned his place in history with a simple tearjerker.
  • But then it was read by the literary editor of the Washington Post, who was amazed by what he saw.
scholarly, learned, intellectual, cultured, erudite, bookish, highbrow, bluestocking, lettered, academic, cultivated;
well read, widely read, educated, well educated
2(Of language) associated with literary works or other formal writing; having a marked style intended to create a particular emotional effect.
Example sentences
  • Yes, I do feel if Urdu has to survive as a literary language it has to increase its vocabulary.
  • This endeavor focused on folklore and history and began to unify the Ukrainian literary language.
  • His language is very accessible as it is closer to the speaking rather than the literary language.
formal, written, poetic, dramatic;
elaborate, ornate, flowery;



Pronunciation: /ˈlidəˌrerəlē/
Example sentences
  • Authors such as William Faulkner, William Styron, Richard Wright, Eudora Welty, and Elizabeth Spencer, to name just a few, have been attracted both personally and literarily to Southern Europe.
  • More ambitious both literarily and graphically, it makes for the better read.
  • One reason for believing the reports are fictions is that apocalypses seem to allude literarily to previous apocalypses.


Example sentences
  • Let me now assuage the fear of theory by pointing out that there are theories which actually threaten or ignore the literariness of literature.
  • This displacement seems also to occur in this discussion, were it not for the fact that its theoretical insights respond to the novel's complex negotiation of literariness.
  • In fact, though, the novel's real interest is in its own literariness.


Mid 17th century (in the sense 'relating to the letters of the alphabet'): from Latin litterarius, from littera (see letter).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lit·er·ar·y

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