noun lit·er·a·ture \ˈli-tə-rə-ˌchr, ˈli-trə-ˌchr, ˈli-tə(r)-ˌchr, -chər, -ˌtyr, -ˌtr\

: written works (such as poems, plays, and novels) that are considered to be very good and to have lasting importance

: books, articles, etc., about a particular subject

: printed materials (such as booklets, leaflets, and brochures) that provide information about something

Full Definition of LITERATURE

archaic :  literary culture
:  the production of literary work especially as an occupation
a (1) :  writings in prose or verse; especially :  writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest (2) :  an example of such writings <what came out, though rarely literature, was always a roaring good story — People>
b :  the body of written works produced in a particular language, country, or age
c :  the body of writings on a particular subject <scientific literature>
d :  printed matter (as leaflets or circulars) <campaign literature>
:  the aggregate of a usually specified type of musical compositions

Examples of LITERATURE

  1. She took courses in history and literature.
  2. Her education gave her an appreciation for great literature.
  3. He's an expert in American literature.
  4. the literature of the Renaissance
  5. studies in different Asian literatures
  6. Can you send me some literature about your product?


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin litteratura writing, grammar, learning, from litteratus
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Literature Terms

apophasis, bathos, bildungsroman, bowdlerize, caesura, coda, doggerel, euphemism, poesy, prosody
LITERATURE Defined for Kids


noun lit·er·a·ture \ˈli-tə-rə-ˌchr\

Definition of LITERATURE for Kids

:  written works considered as having high quality and ideas of lasting and widespread interest
:  written material <I read some travel literature before my vacation.>


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