Literary vs. Literature

By Jaxson

  • Literature

    Literature, most generically, is any body of written works. More restrictively, literature refers to writing considered to be an art form or any single writing deemed to have artistic or intellectual value, often due to deploying language in ways that differ from ordinary usage.

    Its Latin root literatura/litteratura (derived itself from littera: letter or handwriting) was used to refer to all written accounts. The concept has changed meaning over time to include texts that are spoken or sung (oral literature), and non-written verbal art forms. Developments in print technology have allowed an ever-growing distribution and proliferation of written works, culminating in electronic literature.

    Literature is classified according to whether it is fiction or non-fiction, and whether it is poetry or prose. It can be further distinguished according to major forms such as the novel, short story or drama; and works are often categorized according to historical periods or their adherence to certain aesthetic features or expectations (genre).

  • Literary (adjective)

    Relating to literature.

    “literary fame”

    “a literary history”

    “literary conversation”

  • Literary (adjective)

    Relating to writers, or the profession of literature.

    “a literary man”

  • Literary (adjective)

    Knowledgeable of literature or writing.

  • Literary (adjective)

    Appropriate to literature rather than everyday writing.

  • Literary (adjective)


  • Literature (noun)

    The body of all written works.

  • Literature (noun)

    The collected creative writing of a nation, people, group{{,}} or culture.

  • Literature (noun)

    All the papers, treatises{{,}} etc. published in academic journals on a particular subject.

  • Literature (noun)

    Written fiction of a high standard.

    “However, even “literary” science fiction rarely qualifies as literature, because it treats characters as sets of traits rather than as fully realized human beings with unique life stories. —Adam Cadre, 2008”

  • Literary (adjective)

    concerning the writing, study, or content of literature, especially of the kind valued for quality of form

    “the great literary works of the nineteenth century”

  • Literary (adjective)

    concerned with literature as a profession

    “the newspaper’s literary editor”

  • Literary (adjective)

    (of language) associated with literary works or other formal writing; having a marked style intended to create a particular emotional effect

    “the script was too literary”

  • Literature (noun)

    written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit

    “a great work of literature”

  • Literature (noun)

    books and writings published on a particular subject

    “the literature on environmental epidemiology”

  • Literature (noun)

    leaflets and other printed matter used to advertise products or give advice

    “advertising and promotional literature”

Oxford Dictionary

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