Definition of literary in English:

literary

adjective

  • 1attributive 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’
    • ‘The second broad topic of dissension concerns the modes of analysis in literary and cultural studies.’
    • ‘Having a piece selected for this anthology is perhaps the highest honour a literary magazine can receive.’
    • ‘This point can be made another way by considering Orwell's place in a growing field of literary studies.’
    • ‘This is a loss for literary study and writers, as challenges by peers create and motivate new poems.’
    • ‘For some years I had been publishing poems in small literary magazines.’
    • ‘Some of them were published in a few magazines, including some literary journals.’
    • ‘Is the on-line talk abstract emerging as a new literary genre?’
    • ‘Although it is a form of literary study, it is not a form of literary scholarship.’
    • ‘Eventually, he found an agent after one of his short stories was published in a literary magazine.’
    • ‘Their goal in writing a commentary with a distinct literary concern is refreshing.’
    • ‘But the film medium has always had difficulty in translating effects that are quintessentially literary.’
    • ‘These ideas have gained a lot of currency in the study of literary genres.’
    • ‘Train tracks and trains themselves have long signified both real and metaphorical journeys in African American literary and vernacular culture.’
    • ‘I do not object to this accolade on the grounds that Edinburgh has little literary tradition.’
    • ‘The novel also proves that literary fiction doesn't have to be elegiac in tone to be successful.’
    • ‘Recipients range from preeminent national museums to small literary magazines that could not survive without subsidies.’
    • ‘There is an acknowledged double standard in how we view a prolific genre writer and a fruitful literary author.’
    • ‘By contrast, Solzhenitsyn, Tolstoy and other writers in Russia's great literary tradition fully understood this responsibility.’
    • ‘It could be interpreted as literary criticism - and it is certainly causing a stink.’
    • ‘None of this interested Forster or, for that matter, most literary scholars of the past 25 years.’
    1. 1.1 Concerned with literature as a profession.
      ‘the newspaper's literary editor’
      • ‘However, his knowledge of the broader literary picture takes second place to his late friend's reputation.’
      • ‘But then it was read by the literary editor of the Washington Post, who was amazed by what he saw.’
      • ‘Sometimes a creative writer may be forced by circumstances into the position of literary academic.’
      • ‘Privately, many figures in the literary world were also foaming at the mouth.’
      • ‘In the second half of the 19th century, a group of literary figures became identified as Symbolists.’
      • ‘He felt that the genius of literary artists was documented in their openness to the unusual.’
      • ‘Writers and literary academics have never been closer, and never further apart.’
      • ‘You must have cut some kind of figure in Oxford, among the more literary undergraduates anyway.’
      • ‘Ballard first entered the literary world as a science fiction writer, a genre he soon exhausted and has not explored in years.’
      • ‘The support of leading literary figures, Burns scholars and leading entertainers lent weight to the cause.’
      • ‘So many of us in the literary and academic worlds who knew him only casually still felt as if he was a friend and colleague.’
      • ‘She is described by her sister as the artistic, dramatic, literary one in the family.’
      • ‘She was arts editor, theatre critic and subsequently literary editor for The Spectator during the Sixties.’
      • ‘By this time he was already writing and forming literary and artistic friendships.’
      • ‘Considered to be an immense literary figure, he earned his place in history with a simple tearjerker.’
      • ‘Your literary agent is the book-marketing expert who can sell your crafted words to jaded publishing professionals.’
      • ‘He adds that he recently had dinner with a literary editor and a book reviewer and they both felt the same way.’
      • ‘This suspicion of being enemy agents was, so far as literary men were concerned, no novelty.’
      • ‘The literary artist in a similar manner makes use of words and sounds to convey his impression of life.’
      • ‘I just got around to looking her up, and she seems to have been quite a figure in literary circles.’
      scholarly, learned, intellectual, cultured, erudite, bookish, highbrow, studious, cerebral, lettered, academic, cultivated, civilized
      View synonyms
  • 2(of language) associated with literary works or other formal writing; having a marked style intended to create a particular emotional effect.

    ‘the script was too literary’
    • ‘We may admire most of the literary qualities and disapprove of only a few in the course of the novel.’
    • ‘The literary utterance too creates the state of affairs to which it refers, in several respects.’
    • ‘The contents and literary character of the Koran defy brief categorization.’
    • ‘Our long list, short list and eventual choice of winner reflected our estimate of literary quality and nothing else.’
    • ‘The prize is popularly seen as an award for a new novelists of adult literary fiction, but this is not the case.’
    • ‘For the love of all that is literary, please stop writing.’
    • ‘Alas, the story is not only unverified but has a suspiciously literary quality about it.’
    • ‘Studies of Australian war reporting have been fragmentary and of varied literary quality.’
    • ‘The effectiveness of a cabaret song depends only partly on the literary quality of its text.’
    • ‘Yes, I do feel if Urdu has to survive as a literary language it has to increase its vocabulary.’
    • ‘But few of them would make claims for the literary value of those texts.’
    • ‘It is of high literary quality, showing the master's great skill at phrasing subtle ideas and word-play.’
    • ‘You cannot help notice the remarkable literary, almost lyrical, quality about the work.’
    • ‘It was only much later that the Authorized Version came to be praised for its literary qualities.’
    • ‘He is chiefly concerned with literary fiction, but the same danger exists in every other genre.’
    • ‘Books of educative and literary value are kept in libraries for prisoners having an academic bent of mind.’
    • ‘This endeavor focused on folklore and history and began to unify the Ukrainian literary language.’
    • ‘Apart from their literary qualities, his publications were famed for a high standard of typography and binding.’
    • ‘Where among modern writers can you find their superiors in clearness and vigour of literary style?’
    • ‘His language is very accessible as it is closer to the speaking rather than the literary language.’
    formal, written
    View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

literary

/ˈlɪt(ə)(rə)ri/