Share this entry

epistolary Line breaks: epis¦tol|ary
Pronunciation: /ɪˈpɪst(ə)ˌləri/

Definition of epistolary in English:


1Relating to the writing of letters.
Example sentences
  • One method used by writers of young adult literature to express these themes has been the epistolary, or letter writing form.
  • And the epistolary appearance of Lord Peter's mother - the apparently fluttery but always acute duchess, is certainly a Sayers highlight.
  • There is a long tradition of epistolary relationships and the only difference between us and, say, Victorian letter writers is that our letters get there faster.
1.1(Of a literary work) in the form of letters: an epistolary novel
More example sentences
  • In one sense it is an epistolary novel, replete with plot and characters, scenes and backdrops.
  • Shklovsky's second literary book - Zoo, or Letters Not about Love - takes the form of an epistolary novel.
  • Also in 2004, her infamous epistolary vampire novel, The Letters of Mina Harker, was reprinted by the University of Wisconsin Press.


Mid 17th century: from French épistolaire or Latin epistolaris, from epistola (see epistle).

Words that rhyme with epistolary

chancellery • burglary

Definition of epistolary in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day doofus
Pronunciation: ˈduːfʌs
a stupid person