Definition of literati in English:


plural noun

  • Well-educated people who are interested in literature.

    • ‘The apparent juxtaposition of literati and merchant culture at opposite ends of the east wall is misleading.’
    • ‘He notes that the relations between the literati (mostly commoners) and this nobility were complex.’
    • ‘And there is plenty of humor at a drinking party of Bolivian literati.’
    • ‘This gives an idea of the variety of methods of broadcasting their ideas that the Scottish literati used, from the pamphlet to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.’
    • ‘The first, and the more obvious one, is that it has drawn high praise from every echelon of the British literati, winning both the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Prize for poetry this year.’
    • ‘One of three brothers renowned for their abilities as essayists and Confucian literati, he earned the highest degree in the examination system in 1592.’
    • ‘The visiting literati included the poet laureate Ted Hughes and his wife, Sylvia Plath.’
    • ‘The story appears to have been popular among the literati of the Heian period.’
    • ‘The national culture of literati who regarded him as the most important figure of the area built a shrine for him that reflected their perceptions of his status.’
    • ‘I would tend to give him more credence if he was living in Scotland rather than being one of the London literati.’
    • ‘His work has been praised by such respected literati as Muriel Spark, J. G. Ballard, William H. Gass, James Hynes and Peter Matthiessen.’
    • ‘Most of these ‘fighting Brahmins’ were neither scholars nor literati.’
    • ‘No scholar can describe it, the intellectuals cannot know it, the literati and writers cannot recognise it.’
    • ‘The elite literati too adopted the fashion, and greatly influenced the designs.’
    • ‘We do not see the big thick books which were bloody boring and of no real interest either to the literati or the hoi polloi.’
    • ‘The move has horrified the nation's literati in a country where serious literature is a serious business and popular with the masses.’
    • ‘That she's abandoning a decent husband because he doesn't fit with the literati and power-brokers among whom she now flits is both despicable and inevitable.’
    • ‘She's not a great fan of theirs either, and if her success proves anything, it's that fiction has been reclaimed from the literati.’
    • ‘The historical dramatist had worse to fear than the sneers of the literati.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, much of her work has been ignored, partly because she was eclipsed, as a woman, by the male literati of the Harlem Renaissance.’
    intellectuals, intelligent people, academics, scholars, learned people, culturati, men and women of letters, cognoscenti, illuminati, highbrows, bluestockings, thinkers, brains
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Early 17th century: from Latin, plural of literatus ‘acquainted with letters’, from littera (see letter).