literary

adjective
lit·​er·​ary | \ ˈli-tə-ˌrer-ē How to pronounce literary (audio) \

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 How to pronounce literarily (audio) \ adverb
literariness \ ˈli-​tə-​ˌrer-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce literariness (audio) \ 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

Published in 1964 in the Partisan Review, a legendary literary and political quarterly, the essay made Sontag famous. Benjamin Moser, Town & Country, "Why Susan Sontag Would Have Hated a Camp-Themed Met Gala," 5 May 2019 Natalie Mering, is kind of an indie darling who’s known for ethereal, ‘70s-evoking songwriting and literary and cultural allusions. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Sound On: The Best Music of April 2019," 1 May 2019 On the red carpet, Cox talked to E! about the literary origins of her Christian Siriano ensemble. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Here Are All the Fashion References You Might Have Missed from the 2019 Met Gala," 7 May 2019 According to Harper's BAZAAR Australia, Law was first seen with Coan at the Hay Festival, a literary festival in Wales in the United Kingdom. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jude Law’s New Wife, Phillipa Coan, Wants to Tackle Climate Change," 2 May 2019 Still, the responses show a diversity of literary taste. Steve Israel, chicagotribune.com, "What's the greatest book about politics? Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich and others weigh in.," 12 July 2018 My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh pulls off an unlikely premise, demonstrating once again the unsettling energy, daring plotting and biting observations that have earned her literary prizes and praise from the start of her career. Clare Mchugh, Time, "Why Ottessa Moshfegh Is One of the Best Novelists of the Summer," 12 July 2018 Yet the censorship laws seemed to have an opposing effect on her literary ambitions. Ankita Chakraborty, Longreads, "A Crocodile In Paris: The Queer Classics of Qiu Miaojin," 8 June 2018 Every journalist with literary ambitions who came of age from the late 1960s through the ’80s either imitated Wolfe, imitated his imitators or had to make the deliberate decision to reject the Wolfean approach and find another way. Ben Yagoda, WSJ, "An Appreciation: Tom Wolfe," 18 May 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

8 Jun 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 How to pronounce literary (audio) \

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

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