Definition of literary in English:

literary

adjective

  • 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’
    • ‘Some of them were published in a few magazines, including some literary journals.’
    • ‘Recipients range from preeminent national museums to small literary magazines that could not survive without subsidies.’
    • ‘Although it is a form of literary study, it is not a form of literary scholarship.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Is the on-line talk abstract emerging as a new literary genre?’
    • ‘It could be interpreted as literary criticism - and it is certainly causing a stink.’
    • ‘Having a piece selected for this anthology is perhaps the highest honour a literary magazine can receive.’
    • ‘There is an acknowledged double standard in how we view a prolific genre writer and a fruitful literary author.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘None of this interested Forster or, for that matter, most literary scholars of the past 25 years.’
    • ‘For some years I had been publishing poems in small literary magazines.’
    • ‘By contrast, Solzhenitsyn, Tolstoy and other writers in Russia's great literary tradition fully understood this responsibility.’
    • ‘The second broad topic of dissension concerns the modes of analysis in literary and cultural studies.’
    • ‘This point can be made another way by considering Orwell's place in a growing field of literary studies.’
    • ‘Train tracks and trains themselves have long signified both real and metaphorical journeys in African American literary and vernacular culture.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is a loss for literary study and writers, as challenges by peers create and motivate new poems.’
    1. 1.1 Concerned with literature as a profession:
      ‘the newspaper's literary editor’
      • ‘This suspicion of being enemy agents was, so far as literary men were concerned, no novelty.’
      • ‘He adds that he recently had dinner with a literary editor and a book reviewer and they both felt the same way.’
      • ‘The support of leading literary figures, Burns scholars and leading entertainers lent weight to the cause.’
      • ‘Writers and literary academics have never been closer, and never further apart.’
      • ‘Privately, many figures in the literary world were also foaming at the mouth.’
      • ‘She was arts editor, theatre critic and subsequently literary editor for The Spectator during the Sixties.’
      • ‘Sometimes a creative writer may be forced by circumstances into the position of literary academic.’
      • ‘You must have cut some kind of figure in Oxford, among the more literary undergraduates anyway.’
      • ‘She is described by her sister as the artistic, dramatic, literary one in the family.’
      • ‘He felt that the genius of literary artists was documented in their openness to the unusual.’
      • ‘Considered to be an immense literary figure, he earned his place in history with a simple tearjerker.’
      • ‘Ballard first entered the literary world as a science fiction writer, a genre he soon exhausted and has not explored in years.’
      • ‘By this time he was already writing and forming literary and artistic friendships.’
      • ‘In the second half of the 19th century, a group of literary figures became identified as Symbolists.’
      • ‘However, his knowledge of the broader literary picture takes second place to his late friend's reputation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But then it was read by the literary editor of the Washington Post, who was amazed by what he saw.’
      • ‘Your literary agent is the book-marketing expert who can sell your crafted words to jaded publishing professionals.’
      scholarly, learned, intellectual, cultured, erudite, bookish, highbrow, studious, cerebral, lettered, academic, cultivated, civilized
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  • 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’
    • ‘His language is very accessible as it is closer to the speaking rather than the literary language.’
    • ‘The literary utterance too creates the state of affairs to which it refers, in several respects.’
    • ‘For the love of all that is literary, please stop writing.’
    • ‘This endeavor focused on folklore and history and began to unify the Ukrainian literary language.’
    • ‘Alas, the story is not only unverified but has a suspiciously literary quality about it.’
    • ‘It is of high literary quality, showing the master's great skill at phrasing subtle ideas and word-play.’
    • ‘Our long list, short list and eventual choice of winner reflected our estimate of literary quality and nothing else.’
    • ‘The contents and literary character of the Koran defy brief categorization.’
    • ‘We may admire most of the literary qualities and disapprove of only a few in the course of the novel.’
    • ‘Studies of Australian war reporting have been fragmentary and of varied literary quality.’
    • ‘Apart from their literary qualities, his publications were famed for a high standard of typography and binding.’
    • ‘Yes, I do feel if Urdu has to survive as a literary language it has to increase its vocabulary.’
    • ‘Where among modern writers can you find their superiors in clearness and vigour of literary style?’
    • ‘The effectiveness of a cabaret song depends only partly on the literary quality of its text.’
    • ‘You cannot help notice the remarkable literary, almost lyrical, quality about the work.’
    • ‘But few of them would make claims for the literary value of those texts.’
    • ‘The prize is popularly seen as an award for a new novelists of adult literary fiction, but this is not the case.’
    • ‘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.’
    formal, written
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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/