lit·​er·​a·​ture ˈli-tə-rə-ˌchu̇r How to pronounce literature (audio)
-ˌtyu̇r How to pronounce literature (audio)
: writings in prose or verse
especially : writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest
literature stands related to man as science stands to nature J. H. Newman
: an example of such writings
what came out, though rarely literature, was always a roaring good storyPeople
: the body of writings on a particular subject
scientific literature
: the body of written works produced in a particular language, country, or age
French literature
Renaissance literature
: printed matter (such as leaflets or circulars)
campaign literature
: the production of literary work especially as an occupation
Literature is his profession.
: the aggregate of a usually specified type of musical compositions
the Brahms piano literature
archaic : literary culture

Examples of literature in a Sentence

She took courses in history and literature. Her education gave her an appreciation for great literature. He's an expert in American literature. the literature of the Renaissance studies in different Asian literatures Can you send me some literature about your product?
Recent Examples on the Web The study, published in the European Journal of Archaeology on March 13, reviewed existing literature on Ötzi’s tattoos and drew on present-day experiments replicating ancient tattooing techniques. Wire Service, The Mercury News, 9 Apr. 2024 There's also a fitness room, a sauna, an on-deck hot tub, and a library filled with maritime and polar literature. Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, 8 Apr. 2024 Today, Angelou’s legacy endures reminding us of the power of literature to transcend barriers and unite hearts and minds. Shelby Stewart, Essence, 4 Apr. 2024 Diabetic aid: The literature review found multiple studies that examined dandelion’s potential to help control diabetes. Discover Magazine, 4 Apr. 2024 The Real Anthony Fauci, by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., appears to be a popular form of literature, especially among young men with very complicated versions of the American flag on their T-shirts. Gary Shteyngart, The Atlantic, 4 Apr. 2024 John Barth, the playfully erudite author whose darkly comic and complicated novels revolved around the art of literature and launched countless debates over the art of fiction, died Tuesday. Brian Witte, Fortune, 3 Apr. 2024 The three books are a gangster retelling of some of the foundational texts for literature: The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Oresteia cycle. Sean Woods, Rolling Stone, 2 Apr. 2024 Tarzan is one of the more enduring characters in American literature, but the Ape Man wouldn’t exist unless Edgar Rice Burroughs had created him. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 2 Apr. 2024

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

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin litteratura writing, grammar, learning, from litteratus

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of literature was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near literature

Cite this Entry

“Literature.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


lit·​er·​a·​ture ˈlit-ə-rə-ˌchu̇(ə)r How to pronounce literature (audio) ˈli-trə- How to pronounce literature (audio)
: written works having excellence of form or expression and ideas of lasting and widespread interest
: written material (as of a period or on a subject)

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