Definition of literature in English:



  • 1[mass noun] Written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit.

    ‘a great work of literature’
    • ‘It is probably no surprise that I was also at that time expanding my scholarship and teaching to include the literatures and cultures of other peoples of color.’
    • ‘It is a vital contribution to the growing critical corpus on literatures of the Americas.’
    • ‘When not writing, he now teaches literature at a private university in Milan.’
    • ‘I fall back into my old fascination of trying to find the ideal metaphor for the United States, especially as demonstrated in our literatures.’
    • ‘Now I know that some will say it is not possible to study so many ethnic literatures and cultures.’
    • ‘Since I had studied English literature at university, many of my friends wondered why I chose Belgium.’
    • ‘In fact, very little serious work is being done now in the area of comparing national or regional literatures.’
    • ‘The last and the best section is that of Modern Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, and Alexandrian Greek and Persian literatures.’
    • ‘She is on the faculty at Guilford College, where she teaches African American literature and creative writing.’
    • ‘As scholars and teachers of multiethnic literatures of the United States, we are in the business of interpretation.’
    • ‘We hope that this collection will be an invitation to further scholarship in the intersections between minority literatures and social justice.’
    • ‘These deaths are real deaths, and they pile up in ways that define our histories and literatures and social sciences.’
    • ‘As the hyphens and slash marks indicate, these emergent literatures do not fit under a single rubric.’
    • ‘Many scholars consider this novel a modern classic in US literatures.’
    • ‘We traveled in the same circles and went to the same panels, and talked of ethnic literatures at every opportunity.’
    • ‘However, the discussion is limited by the author's lack of detailed first-hand knowledge of the individual languages and literatures of the peoples about whom she is writing.’
    • ‘The seminar's topic was Renaissance utopian literatures, focusing on More's Utopia.’
    • ‘A new study suggests that classical English literature is essential to the teaching of English.’
    • ‘Notably, Hamilton was one of the most influential figures in children's literature in the 20th century.’
    • ‘In the late 1970s the frontiers were radically expanded, bringing marginalized literatures into university courses.’
    written works, writings, literary texts, compositions, letters, belles-lettres
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    1. 1.1Books and writings published on a particular subject.
      ‘the literature on environmental epidemiology’
      • ‘By necessity, this is a primer, the barest outline drawn from a vast and growing literature on the subject.’
      • ‘Extensive medical literature describes how vascular function differs in older and younger individuals.’
      • ‘Perhaps there is no prior research or scholarly literature on the subject, but it would seem pretty easy to construct similar experiments without a racial subtext.’
      • ‘One would have to be immersed in the scholarly literature on this subject to judge whether these chapters would pass muster as an academic analysis.’
      • ‘It is certainly true that the published literature on the subject is well surveyed.’
      • ‘Published medical literature was systematically searched via computerized databases.’
      • ‘I begin by reviewing the relevant empirical literature and then outlining the philosophical principles modeled in the present research.’
      • ‘Third, the clinical psychology research literature has failed to incorporate cultural factors.’
      • ‘Are you trying to stay abreast of new literature on a specific topic?’
      • ‘The first step in the method is to summarize the relevant scientific literature to determine what is worth knowing.’
      • ‘There are many recorded conversations and references are made to other existing literature on the subject.’
      • ‘There is almost no published literature on the subject, and we are largely guided by our own opinions, experience, and - in some cases - prejudice.’
      • ‘When searching the literature on your topic, please consult several sources of evidence-based reviews.’
      • ‘In contrast, there is relatively little published literature on effects of deer browsing on prairie plants.’
      • ‘This article reviews the published literature on the extent and effectiveness of substance abuse treatment programming for women.’
      • ‘All of these writers' works, and a host of others, create the body of literatures that is the focus of contemporary critical studies of gender.’
      • ‘The focus is on explanation and not merely description, and this is what distinguishes this book from the now vast literature on this subject.’
      • ‘In fact, the basic science literature reports that even mild stretching can cause muscle damage at the cellular level.’
      • ‘And contrary to some assertions, they have published peer-reviewed literature on the subject.’
      publications, published writings, texts, reports, studies, relevant works
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    2. 1.2Leaflets and other printed matter used to advertise products or give advice.
      ‘advertising and promotional literature’
      • ‘No need to read voluminous campaign literature, or pore through printed recommendations.’
      • ‘The region's promotional literature will be upgraded including the production of language editions, which will be used on all promotions.’
      • ‘In addition, winners will be able to display the True Taste Awards branding on their products and literature, providing an instant standard of recognition and quality for the consumer.’
      • ‘The lack of economic resources also prevents the community from producing any printed literature that might bind its members together.’
      • ‘Market research, competitive information, product literature, and a list of pertinent Web sites are good choices.’
      • ‘The cost of newspaper advertising and canvassing literature before the starting-gun is fired is enormous.’
      • ‘This vocal minority has pointed to the literature provided early on to Australian citizens, as well as the far more detailed official websites available in the USA.’
      • ‘‘We send a great deal of product information out through literature,’ he says.’
      • ‘For more straightforward cash rewards, consumers will have to read the small print of product literature to ensure they have the card that best suits their spending needs.’
      • ‘New literature is also printed on recycled paper.’
      • ‘The second major development was promotional literature, the advertising pamphlets issued by the growing number of national food and kitchen equipment companies.’
      • ‘Surveying the literature written for patients makes it easy to understand why someone like me could have missed this.’
      • ‘The receivers are understood to have been approached by a potential buyer for the company, which prints and binds literature for the direct mail market, but staff remain pessimistic.’
      • ‘Safe sex literature and products could be used as evidence.’
      • ‘She instead recommends applicants looking at the free advice provided in admissions literature or on University websites.’
      • ‘They will be visiting problem areas to hand out literature and advice to people on how best to secure their vehicles, and offering support to victims.’
      • ‘The campaign included a series of newspaper articles and the distribution of conspiracy-quality leaflets and literature.’
      • ‘The campaign included rebranding the company and producing new corporate literature, advertising and media, website and promotional items.’
      • ‘He must get the public to take note of these brand-building messages, whether they be contained in website pages, printed literature or elsewhere.’
      • ‘Keep product literature in case of future questions and complete warranty cards.’
      printed matter, brochures, leaflets, pamphlets, circulars, flyers, handouts, handbills, mailshots, bulletins, documentation, publicity, blurb, notices, information, data, facts
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘knowledge of books’): via French from Latin litteratura, from littera (see letter).