bel·​le·​trist bel-ˈle-trist How to pronounce belletrist (audio)
variants or less commonly belle-lettrist
: a writer of belles lettres
Nikos Demou was a prosperous advertising executive in Athens with his own firm until runaway success with a series of books, essays and articles on the Greek identity crisis enabled him to earn a more than comfortable living as a journalist and belletrist.Robert Fox
belletristic adjective
or less commonly belle-lettristic

Examples of belletrist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The philologists, unlike the belletrists, were methodical and systematic, and given to expounding those methods and systems in lengthy treatises. Evan Kindley, The New York Review of Books, 16 Feb. 2023 Harrison is almost the textbook example of a belletrist—someone who writes essays more for their aesthetic effect than anything else. Bill Heavey, WSJ, 16 Sep. 2022 Locke the glossy belletrist gave way to Locke the fellow-traveller, Locke the savvy champion of proletarian realism. Tobi Haslett, The New Yorker, 11 May 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'belletrist.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


belles lettres

First Known Use

1801, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of belletrist was in 1801

Dictionary Entries Near belletrist

Cite this Entry

“Belletrist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

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