Definition of Literature

1. Noun. Creative writing of recognized artistic value.

2. Noun. The humanistic study of a body of literature. "He took a course in Russian lit"
Exact synonyms: Lit
Generic synonyms: Literary Study
Derivative terms: Literary

3. Noun. Published writings in a particular style on a particular subject. "One aspect of Waterloo has not yet been treated in the literature"
Generic synonyms: Piece Of Writing, Writing, Written Material
Specialized synonyms: Historiography

4. Noun. The profession or art of a writer. "Her place in literature is secure"
Generic synonyms: Profession

Definition of Literature

1. n. Learning; acquaintance with letters or books.

Definition of Literature

1. Noun. The body of all written works. ¹

2. Noun. The collected creative writing of a nation, people, group(,) or culture. ¹

3. Noun. All the papers, treatises(,) etc. published in academic journals on a particular subject. ¹

4. Noun. Written fiction of a high standard. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Literature

1. [n -S]

Medical Definition of Literature

1. 1. Learning; acquaintance with letters or books. 2. The collective body of literary productions, embracing the entire results of knowledge and fancy preserved in writing; also, the whole body of literary productions or writings upon a given subject, or in reference to a particular science or branch of knowledge, or of a given country or period; as, the literature of Biblical criticism; the literature of chemistry. 3. The class of writings distinguished for beauty of style or expression, as poetry, essays, or history, in distinction from scientific treatises and works which contain positive knowledge; belles-lettres. 4. The occupation, profession, or business of doing literary work. Synonym: Science, learning, erudition, belles-lettres. See Science. Literature, Learning, Erudition. Literature, in its widest sense, embraces all compositions in writing or print which preserve the results of observation, thought, or fancy; but those upon the positive sciences (mathematics, etc) are usually excluded. It is often confined, however, to belles-lettres, or works of taste and sentiment, as poetry, eloquence, history, etc, excluding abstract discussions and mere erudition. A man of literature (in this narrowest sense) is one who is versed in belles-lettres; a man of learning excels in what is taught in the schools, and has a wide extent of knowledge, especially, in respect to the past; a man of erudition is one who is skilled in the more recondite branches of learned inquiry. "The origin of all positive science and philosophy, as well as of all literature and art, in the forms in which they exist in civilized Europe, must be traced to the Greeks." (Sir G. Lewis) "Learning thy talent is, but mine is sense." (Prior) "Some gentlemen, abounding in their university erudition, fill their sermons with philosophical terms." (Swift) Origin: F. Litterature, L. Litteratura, literatura, learning, grammar, writing, fr.littera, litera, letter. See Letter. Source: Websters Dictionary (01 Mar 1998)

Lexicographical Neighbors of Literature

literature (current term)

Literary usage of Literature

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. The Red Badge of Courage and Four Storiesby Stephen Crane by Stephen Crane (1997)
"A pioneer in the realistic school of American fiction and the true forerunner of Ernest Hemingway, Stephen Crane probed the thoughts and actions of trapped or..."

2. Modern Essays by Christopher Morley (1921)
"The Spirit of American literature has been reissued in an inexpensive edition by Boni and Liveright. It is a book well worth owning. ..."

3. The Encyclopedia Americana: A Library of Universal Knowledge (1919)
"D. Head of Greek Department, University of Chicago FROGS, THE SHOWERMAN, GRANT, Ph.D. Professor of Latin literature, University of Wisconsin FRERE'S ..."

4. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (1892)
"... 32, 37, 31, F, G, and H. The other numbers of the Series are suitable for pupils of the Fifth and Sixth Reader grades and for the study of literature. ..."

5. The Literary History of the American Revolution, 1763-1783 by Moses Coit Tyler (1897)
"The note of American literature during this period is its concern with the ... The surprising amount of this literature considered as the product of a ..."

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