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

Synonyms & Antonyms for literary



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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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The production certainly makes the case that the American theater should look again at Césaire, a guy who achieved so much in the literary and political fields that his drama often gets overlooked. Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, 4 May 2022 The acclaim that Resnick’s book received, including blurbs from Allen Ginsberg and Andy Warhol, merely hinted at the significance of her literary and artistic accomplishment. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 In a recent analysis, PEN America, a literary and free expression advocacy organization, found that 1,145 books were banned in communities across the United States from July 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022. Nicole Chavez, CNN, 27 Apr. 2022 Son of the Century was a literary and political sensation in Italy, winning the country’s major book prize. Anna Momigliano, The Atlantic, 26 Apr. 2022 So are the theater, literary and performing arts taught by Khalil Bleux’s organization. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Apr. 2022 But maybe the new kidlit insurgency will replace brooding detectives with plucky kids and angsty teens as the archetypical L.A. literary heroes and heroines. Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2022 Eventually the mirror migrated to the mantel in the library of my grandparents’ manor house near Oxford, England, a gathering place for their literary and artistic circle. Perdita Buchan, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Apr. 2022 Her achievements at the helm of Arts for Lawrence have been numerous, including the development of visual, literary and performing arts programs. Domenica Bongiovanni, The Indianapolis Star, 24 Mar. 2022 See More

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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Time Traveler for literary

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The first known use of literary was in 1605

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Dictionary Entries Near literary



literary agent

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Statistics for literary

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Literary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for literary


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

Kids Definition of literary

: of or relating to literature

More from Merriam-Webster on literary

Nglish: Translation of literary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of literary for Arabic Speakers


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