• synonyms


[French bel-le-truh]
See more synonyms for belles-lettres on Thesaurus.com
plural noun
  1. literature regarded as a fine art, especially as having a purely aesthetic function.
  2. light and elegant literature, especially that which is excessively refined, characterized by aestheticism, and minor in subject, substance, or scope.
Show More

Origin of belles-lettres

1700–10; < French: literally, fine letters. See belle, letter1
Related formsbel·let·rist [bel-le-trist] /bɛlˈlɛ trɪst/, nounbel·let·ris·tic [bel-li-tris-tik] /ˌbɛl lɪˈtrɪs tɪk/, adjective


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. See literature.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for belletristic

Historical Examples

  • In belletristic literature, also, we find occasional references to the love-sentiment in childhood.

    The Sexual Life of the Child

    Albert Moll

  • The belletristic and the puritanical conceptions of life presented themselves in their profoundest antithesis.

British Dictionary definitions for belletristic


  1. (functioning as singular) literary works, esp essays and poetry, valued for their aesthetic rather than their informative or moral content
Show More

Word Origin

C17: from French: fine letters
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for belletristic



"elegant literature, aesthetics," 1710, French, literally "fine letters," from belles, plural of belle, fem. of beau "fine, beautiful" (see beau) + lettres, plural of lettre "letter" (see letter). The literary equivalent of beaux arts.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper