Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, relating to, or dealing with literature: literary criticism.
  • adj. Of or relating to writers or the profession of literature: literary circles.
  • adj. Versed in or fond of literature or learning.
  • adj. Appropriate to literature rather than everyday speech or writing.
  • adj. Bookish; pedantic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Relating to literature.
  • adj. Relating to writers, or the profession of literature.
  • adj. Knowledgeable of literature or writing.
  • adj. Appropriate to literature rather than everyday writing.
  • adj. Bookish.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to letters or literature; pertaining to learning or learned men
  • adj. Versed in, or acquainted with, literature; occupied with literature as a profession; connected with literature or with men of letters.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining or relating to letters or literature; proper to or consisting of literature: as, literary property; literary fame or history; literary conversation.
  • Versed in letters; occupied with literature; especially, engaged in writing books.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. appropriate to literature rather than everyday speech or writing
  • adj. knowledgeable about literature
  • adj. of or relating to or characteristic of literature

Etymologies

Latin litterārius, of reading and writing, from littera, lītera, letter; see letter.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French littéraire. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Medora Manson, in her prosperous days, had inaugurated a “literary salon”; but it had soon died out owing to the reluctance of the literary to frequent it.

    XII. Book I

  • In concluding this study of the two recently discovered tablets of the old Babylonian version of the Gilgamesh Epic which has brought us several steps further in the interpretation and in our understanding of the method of composition of the most notable literary production of ancient Babylonia, it will be proper to consider the _literary_ relationship of the old Babylonian to the Assyrian version.

    An Old Babylonian Version of the Gilgamesh Epic

  • I love excellent writing, I love wit, I hate pretension, and in some cases I find the Booker tends toward books that enjoy the term literary far too much at the expense of readability; not always but sometimes.

    Two Great Books

  • A “bookclub” novel speaks to the kind of women I think would enjoy my manuscript, as opposed to what most people take out of the term literary fiction.

    Author! Author! » Blog Archive » Building block of the pitch #2: never assume — and other lessons gleaned from Saturday morning cartoons

  • I will go farther, and at once give up to you all the learned ladies that exist, or that ever have existed: but when I use the term literary ladies, I mean women who have cultivated their understandings not for the purposes of parade, but with the desire to make themselves useful and agreeable.

    Tales and Novels — Volume 08

  • Â However, in this tale, what we know as a literary device dreamed up by a man who lived with his spinster aunts is pushed on the readers as the real deal.

    Review: The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft | Major Spoilers - Comic Book Reviews and News

  • Keenan's poetic "An Evil Cradling," which he describes as a literary attempt to "imprison" insanity on paper in the same way he held it at bay while in captivity, topped The Sunday Times of London's bestseller list for nine weeks last year.

    Best Sellers In Chains

  • I teach YA lit and I hadn't heard of her; these are more like Gossip Girls books than I hate this term literary novels.

    Imitation and the Teen Novel

  • The London booksellers of that time were alarmed at the invasion of what they called their literary property by a Scottish publisher who had presumed to bring out an edition of the English poets.

    Inns and Taverns of Old London

  • Of what we know as literary ambition, I believe myself to have been as destitute at that time as any girl who ever put pen to paper.

    McClure's Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 5, April, 1896

Comments

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  • NOT "LITERY". The number of times I've heard this on the radio, out of the mouths of otherwise well-spoken individuals. For shame.

    July 20, 2009