literary

adjective
lit·​er·​ary | \ ˈli-tə-ˌrer-ē \

Definition of literary

1a : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of humane learning or literature a literary education a literary institution
b : bookish sense 2 an essay written in a very literary style
c : of or relating to books a literary agent a literary manuscript
2a : well-read he is literary, given to quoting to himself rather long stretches of remembered lines— F. J. Hoffman
b : of or relating to authors or scholars or to their professions her literary biographies

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Other Words from literary

literarily \ ˌli-​tə-​ˈrer-​ə-​lē \ adverb
literariness \ ˈli-​tə-​ˌrer-​ē-​nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for literary

Synonyms

bookish, erudite, learned

Antonyms

colloquial, nonliterary, unbookish

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Examples of literary in a Sentence

Do his books have any literary merit? Mystery fiction is only one of many literary forms. an essay written in a very literary style The author uses many literary devices in his work. He entered the literary world right out of college. She hired a literary agent.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This is a smart series that combines slapstick humor and witty dialogue with cutting-edge science and the odd literary reference. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The Orville blends science fiction and science fact into a winning mix," 29 Dec. 2018 Though Smith was already a prominent literary figure, her newest collection takes on the responsibility that comes with having a more public persona. Adrianna Smith, The Atlantic, "What Tracy K. Smith Sees in America," 9 June 2018 Though Lax’s works can be found on Amazon.com, Smith had to consult the poet’s estate in upstate New York for deeper exploration of what was often called a reclusive literary figure (though that element of his life is thought to be exaggerated). David Patrick Stearns, Philly.com, "The Crossing's Month of Moderns is back for another ambitious round," 31 May 2018 The biopic has been a staple in filmmaking since the sound era began, though over the years literary figures seem to have gotten fewer screen treatments than other notables. Patrick Friel, Chicago Reader, "Books / Film / Foreign / History / On Video / Poetry Five literary biopics whose pictures are worth a thousand words," 30 May 2018 Time Philip Roth, who died Tuesday in Manhattan at age 85, was one of the preeminent American literary figures of the 20th and 21st centuries. Jocelyn Mcclurg, USA TODAY, "5 essential works of fiction by American great Philip Roth," 23 May 2018 Author Tom Wolfe died in a Manhattan hospital on Monday at 87, and notable literary figures began offering remembrances on Twitter as soon as the news of his death was reported Tuesday morning. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "Famous Literary Figures React to Tom Wolfe's Death," 15 May 2018 The nation’s foremost literary figures, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and John Greenleaf Whittier, all wrote about her. Barbara Cutter, Smithsonian, "The Gruesome Story of Hannah Duston, Whose Slaying of Indians Made Her an American Folk “Hero”," 9 Apr. 2018 The cinematic cosmos of the French director Arnaud Desplechin teems with literary allusions. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "Review: Wife Returns in ‘Ismael’s Ghosts.’ Confusion Ensues.," 22 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of literary

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for literary

Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for literary

The first known use of literary was in 1605

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More Definitions for literary

literary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of literary

: of or relating to literature
: used in literature
: having a lot of knowledge about literature : known for reading or writing books

literary

adjective
lit·​er·​ary | \ ˈli-tə-ˌrer-ē \

Kids Definition of literary

: of or relating to literature

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More from Merriam-Webster on literary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for literary

Spanish Central: Translation of literary

Nglish: Translation of literary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of literary for Arabic Speakers

Comments on literary

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