Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun plural The literary intelligentsia.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Plural of literatus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun plural Learned or literary men. See literatus.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Well-educated, literary people; intellectuals who are interested in literature

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

  • noun the literary intelligentsia

Etymologies

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

[Latin litterātī, līterātī, pl. of litterātus, literate; see literate.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin literatus ("lettered, literate").

Examples

  • The term literati, as I use it, refers to those, like Siegel, who have refused to even open the curtains in their ivory towers to see the wonderful, burgeoning literary world that has sprung up around them.

    Jason Pinter: Death of the Literati: Good Riddance to Closed-Mindedness

  • I think however that it is interesting to see you use the term literati, and picture my post as part of some larger struggle between one label group and another label group that I think breaks down as easily as my original post.

    Thinking More on the Falseness of Literary Fiction, sometimes

  • In his review of a John Grisham novel he almost writes: The prevailing assumption among the literati is still ... that popularity equals mediocrity.

    Book Reviewing

  • I doubt the "literati" -- that is, the literary intelligentsia -- would create any constitution or doubt that anyone would nominate Updike, Franzen, DFW, DeLillo, etc to draft a new constitution.

    Balkinization

  • Azar Nafisi was also there, along with Matt Klam and his family, and sprinkled among the literati were the friends I had made over the past year volunteering at the writing center.

    Sean Carman: Saint Christopher

  • There is probably only one name the literati would admit to recognising, and that's Dan Brown, in at number two with The Lost Symbol, the follow-up to Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code.

    Ebook restrictions leave libraries facing virtual lockout

  • Azar Nafisi was also there, along with Matt Klam and his family, and sprinkled among the literati were the friends I had made over the past year volunteering at the writing center.

    Sean Carman: Saint Christopher

  • Azar Nafisi was also there, along with Matt Klam and his family, and sprinkled among the literati were the friends I had made over the past year volunteering at the writing center.

    Sean Carman: Saint Christopher

  • Cornelius Nepos, also, in his book, where he draws a distinction between a literate and a philologist, says that in common phrase, those are properly called literati who are skilled in speaking or writing with care or accuracy, and those more especially deserve the name who translated the poets, and were called grammarians by the Greeks.

    De vita Caesarum

  • JEAN PAUL betwixt their blanc-mange and oysters, without comprehending even the outermost rind of its in-meaning; so utterly ignorant are our so-called literati of any subject beyond the scope of a newspaper, that the name of SEATSFIELD sounded as strangely in American ears as if he had lately arrived from Herschel or Georgium Sidus in a balloon.

    The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, June 1844 Volume 23, Number 6

Comments

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  • See also literatus, singular form

    December 27, 2006

  • According to Garner's Modern American Usage: "The closest singular is the Gallicism "littérateur" (= a literary person)."

    December 20, 2008