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