belles lettres

noun, plural in form but singular in construction
belles let·​tres | \ bel-ˈletrᵊ How to pronounce belles lettres (audio) \

Definition of belles lettres

: literature that is an end in itself and not merely informative specifically : light, entertaining, and often sophisticated literature

First Known Use of belles lettres

1665, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for belles lettres

French, literally, fine letters

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The first known use of belles lettres was in 1665

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Cite this Entry

“Belles lettres.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/belles%20lettres. Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on belles lettres

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about belles lettres

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