lit·​er·​a·​ture | \ ˈli-tə-rə-ˌchu̇r How to pronounce literature (audio) , ˈli-trə-ˌchu̇r, ˈli-tər-ˌchu̇r, ˈli-tə-, -chər, -ˌtyu̇r, -ˌtu̇r How to pronounce literature (audio) \

Definition of literature

1a(1) : 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
(2) : an example of such writings what came out, though rarely literature, was always a roaring good storyPeople
b : the body of writings on a particular subject scientific literature
c : the body of written works produced in a particular language, country, or age French literature Renaissance literature
d : printed matter (such as leaflets or circulars) campaign literature
2 : the production of literary work especially as an occupation Literature is his profession.
3 : the aggregate of a usually specified type of musical compositions the Brahms piano literature
4 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? See More
Recent Examples on the Web In fact, the movie often plays like another Stranger Things dilution, watering down the paperback thrills of literature’s reigning master of horror into an inferior throwback substitution. A.a. Dowd, Rolling Stone, 23 June 2022 Gunn was impressed by Leavis’s commitment to the seriousness of literature and by his vision of poetry as a direct intellectual engagement with the vicissitudes of one’s time. Jeremy Lybarger, The New Republic, 17 June 2022 Innovative works of literature are customarily slow to gain recognition. James Campbell, WSJ, 15 June 2022 But a growing body of scientific literature from both animal testing and epidemiological surveys has indicated that at least some of them are likely to impact human health. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 15 June 2022 Maria Paola Paladino, who has studied human attitudes towards robots at the University of Trento, Italy, points out that a lot of scientific literature exists on touch and its impact in building relationships and well-being. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 June 2022 For decades, feminist deconstructions of literature have reframed female characters and excavated the ways they have been used by mostly male authors. Los Angeles Times, 5 June 2022 The most recent review of the literature found that in most studies, women with a negative attitude toward menopause tended to experience more symptoms. Stephanie Dolgoff, Good Housekeeping, 2 June 2022 As a writer, Nottage’s relationship to literature is a constant source of inspiration; the books that have changed her life have not only informed Nottage’s career, but also validated her voice. Cassandra Pintro, Vogue, 9 June 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of literature

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for literature

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

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

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Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Literature.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for literature


lit·​er·​a·​ture | \ ˈli-tə-rə-ˌchu̇r How to pronounce literature (audio) \

Kids Definition of literature

1 : written works considered as having high quality and ideas of lasting and widespread interest
2 : written material I read some travel literature before my vacation.

More from Merriam-Webster on literature

Nglish: Translation of literature for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of literature for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about literature


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