[ ih-pis-tl-er-ee ]
/ ɪˈpɪs tlˌɛr i /


contained in or carried on by letters: an epistolary friendship.
of, relating to, or consisting of letters.

Nearby words

  1. episternum,
  2. epistle,
  3. epistle side,
  4. epistle to the galatians,
  5. epistler,
  6. epistolary novel,
  7. epistoler,
  8. epistolic,
  9. epistolize,
  10. epistolography

Origin of epistolary

First recorded in 1650–60, epistolary is from the Latin word epistolāris of, belonging to a letter. See epistle, -ar1

Related formsun·e·pis·to·lar·y, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for epistolary

British Dictionary definitions for epistolary


archaic epistolatory

/ (ɪˈpɪstələrɪ) /


relating to, denoting, conducted by, or contained in letters
(of a novel or other work) constructed in the form of a series of 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 epistolary



1650s, from French épistolaire, from Latin epistolaris, from epistola (see epistle).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper