One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A word, phrase, or other use of language that is characteristic of or peculiar to literature or the art of writing, especially of a self-conscious literary type; a literary convention, device, or cliché.
2The practice of using literary language, references, or conventions, especially at the expense of freshness and clarity of expression; the use of literaryisms; the tendency to use these.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Frederick Elworthy (1830–1907), philologist and antiquary. From literary + -ism.
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