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epistolary

adjective epis·to·lary \ i-ˈpi-stə-ˌler-ē , ˌe-pi-ˈstȯ-lə-rē \
Updated on: 24 Nov 2017

Definition of epistolary

1 : of, relating to, or suitable to a letter
2 : contained in or carried on by letters
  • an endless sequence of … epistolary love affairs
  • The Times Literary Supplement (London)
3 : written in the form of a series of letters
  • an epistolary novel

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Recent Examples of epistolary from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'epistolary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Epistolary was formed from the noun epistle, which refers to a composition written in the form of a letter to a particular person or group. In its original sense, epistle refers to one of the 21 letters (such as those from the apostle Paul) found in the New Testament. Dating from the 13th century, epistle came to English via Anglo-French and Latin from the Greek noun epistolē, meaning "message" or "letter." Epistolē, in turn, came from the verb epistellein, meaning "to send" to or "to send from." Epistolary appeared in English four centuries after epistle and can be used to describe something related to or contained in a letter (as in "epistolary greetings") or composed of letters (as in "an epistolary novel").

First Known Use of epistolary

circa 1656


2

epistolary

noun

Definition of epistolary

plural epistolaries
: a lectionary containing a body of liturgical epistles

First Known Use of epistolary

circa 1900

Other Christian Religious Terms


EPISTOLARY Defined for English Language Learners

epistolary

adjective

Definition of epistolary for English Language Learners

  • : of or relating to a letter : suitable to a letter

  • : written in the form of a series of letters


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