What does literature mean?

Definitions for literature
ˈlɪt ər ə tʃər, -ˌtʃʊər, ˈlɪ trə-lit·er·a·ture

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word literature.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. literaturenoun

    creative writing of recognized artistic value

  2. literature, litnoun

    the humanistic study of a body of literature

    "he took a course in Russian lit"

  3. literaturenoun

    published writings in a particular style on a particular subject

    "the technical literature"; "one aspect of Waterloo has not yet been treated in the literature"

  4. literaturenoun

    the profession or art of a writer

    "her place in literature is secure"


  1. literaturenoun

    The body of all written works.

  2. literaturenoun

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

  3. literaturenoun

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

  4. literaturenoun

    Written fiction of a high standard.

    SF is rarely literature because the characters are so poorly realised. - Adam Cadre

  5. Etymology: From literatura or litteratura.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Literaturenoun

    Learning; skill in letters.

    Etymology: literatura, Latin.

    This kingdom hath been famous for good literature; and if preferment attend deservers, there will not want supplies. Francis Bacon, Advice to Villiers.

    When men of learning are acted by a knowledge of the world, they give a reputation to literature, and convince the world of its usefulness. Joseph Addison, Freeholder, №. 377.


  1. Literature

    Literature broadly is any collection of written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to include oral literature, much of which has been transcribed. Literature is a method of recording, preserving, and transmitting knowledge and entertainment, and can also have a social, psychological, spiritual, or political role. Literature, as an art form, can also include works in various non-fiction genres, such as biography, diaries, memoir, letters, and the essay. Within its broad definition, literature includes non-fictional books, articles or other printed information on a particular subject.Etymologically, the term derives from Latin literatura/litteratura "learning, a writing, grammar," originally "writing formed with letters," from litera/littera "letter". In spite of this, the term has also been applied to spoken or sung texts. Developments in print technology have allowed an ever-growing distribution and proliferation of written works, which now includes electronic literature. Literature is classified according to whether it is poetry, prose or drama, and such works are categorized according to historical periods, or their adherence to certain aesthetic features, or genre.


  1. literature

    Literature can be defined as written works, including fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction, that are considered to possess artistic or intellectual merit and are intended to be read and appreciated for their literary qualities. It encompasses various forms of storytelling and expression, often reflecting the cultural, social, historical, and individual experiences and perspectives of the authors. Literature is typically characterized by its creative use of language, narrative structure, symbolism, and thematic exploration, and it has the power to entertain, educate, inspire, and provoke thought and reflection.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Literaturenoun

    learning; acquaintance with letters or books

  2. Literaturenoun

    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. Literaturenoun

    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. Literaturenoun

    the occupation, profession, or business of doing literary work


  1. Literature

    Literature is the art of written work and can, in some circumstances, refer exclusively to published sources. The word literature literally means "things made from letters" and the pars pro toto term "letters" is sometimes used to signify "literature," as in the figures of speech "arts and letters" and "man of letters." Literature is commonly classified as having two major forms—fiction & non-fiction—and two major techniques—poetry and prose. Literature may consist of texts based on factual information, as well as on original imagination, such as polemical works as well as autobiography, and reflective essays as well as belles-lettres. Literature can be classified according to historical periods, genres, and political influences. The concept of genre, which earlier was limited, has broadened over the centuries. A genre consists of artistic works which fall within a certain central theme, and examples of genre include romance, mystery, crime, fantasy, erotica, and adventure, among others. Important historical periods in English literature include Old English, Middle English, the Renaissance, the 17th Century Shakespearean and Elizabethan times, the 18th Century Restoration, 19th Century Victorian, and 20th Century Modernism. Important intellectual movements that have influenced the study of literature include feminism, post-colonialism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, post-modernism, romanticism, and Marxism.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Literature

    lit′ėr-a-tūr, n. the science of letters or what is written: the whole body of literary compositions in any language, or on a given subject: all literary productions except those relating to positive science and art, usually confined, however, to the belles-lettres.—adj. Lit′eratured (Shak.), learned, having literary knowledge.—Light literature, books which can be read and understood without mental exertion: fiction; Polite literature, belles-lettres. [Fr.,—L. literaturalitera, a letter.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Literature

    defined by Carlyle "as an 'apocalypse of nature,' a revealing of the 'open secret,' a 'continuous revelation' of the God-like in the terrestrial and common, which ever endures there, and is brought out now in this dialect, now in that, with various degrees of clearness ... there being touches of it (i. e. the God-like) in the dark stormful indignation of a Byron, nay, in the withered mockery of a French sceptic, his mockery of the false, a love and worship of the true ... how much more in the sphere harmony of a Shakespeare, the cathedral music of a Milton; something of it too in those humble, genuine, lark-notes of a Burns, skylark starting from the humble furrow far overhead into the blue depths, and singing to us so genuinely there."

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. literature

    The art of saying a thing by saying something else just as good.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Literature

    Writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest. The body of written works produced in a particular language, country, or age. (Webster, 3d ed)

Editors Contribution

  1. literatureverb

    Language in core translation of a literal person or particular thing having territory expressing the object of a look, gesture, thought, action, or plan to process a result for the collective. 1.) written works considered ofsl superior or lasting artistic merit. Books and writings published on a particular subject.

    I will and shall be a student of literature as long as I live in the flesh.

    Etymology: Documentation

    Submitted by Tehorah_Elyon on April 10, 2024  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'literature' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1951

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'literature' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4389

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'literature' in Nouns Frequency: #886

Anagrams for literature »

  1. literateur

  2. literatuer

How to pronounce literature?

How to say literature in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of literature in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of literature in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of literature in a Sentence

  1. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn:

    Literature that is not the breath of contemporary society, that dares not transmit the pains and fears of that society, that does not warn in time against threatening moral and social dangers -- such literature does not deserve the name of literature; it is only a fa?ade. Such literature loses the confidence of its own people, and its published works are used as wastepaper instead of being read.

  2. Bridget Sharpe:

    Regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, students in Arizona deserve to have access to high-quality sex education and information about LGBTQ history, literature, and current events, this veto will protect LGBTQ children and ensure every student has access to enriching educational materials that tell the story of LGBTQ people in this country.

  3. Daniel Cameron:

    We understand that we’re trying to cut back on antibiotic use, but if you have a child that’s sick, and with so many complexities of infection in a tick and plenty of published literature that supports how complicated this disease is, you’d like to have the freedom as a doctor to treat your patients and not be limited, if doctors who treat Lyme had more freedom, we wouldn’t have so much frustration in the medical community.

  4. Salman Rushdie:

    Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart.

  5. Sinclair Lewis:

    Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead.

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Translations for literature

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"literature." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/literature>.

Discuss these literature definitions with the community:

  • Glendy John Malalis
    Glendy John Malalis
    LikeReply6 years ago
  • Gopal Das Rajpout
    Gopal Das Rajpout
    it s way on the writing
    LikeReply 38 years ago

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marked by sudden changes in subject and sharp transitions
A victimised
B disjointed
C tight
D abrupt

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