adherence to the exact letter or the literal sense, as in translation or interpretation: to interpret the law with uncompromising literalism.
a peculiarity of expression resulting from this: The work is studded with these obtuse literalisms.
exact representation or portrayal, without idealization, as in art or literature: a literalism more appropriate to journalism than to the novel.
- lit·er·al·ist, noun
- lit·er·al·is·tic, adjective
- lit·er·al·is·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use literalism in a sentence
If Ham were truly a biblical literalist he would be endorsing The Principle.‘The Principle’: Geocentrism is What Real Biblical Literalism Looks Like | Karl W. Giberson | April 10, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Today in politics, the mere word "Christian" ignites a series of associations: conservative, literalist, Republican, and so on.
Ver′balism, something expressed in words or orally; Ver′balist, one skilled in words: a literalist; Verbal′ity.
And this consideration seems conclusive as against the adequacy of the literalist method.The Unseen World and Other Essays | John Fiske
Especially do we find a very extensive use of symbolism, which has proved a trap into which the literalist has hastened to fall.The Evolution of Old Testament Religion | W. E. Orchard
The literalist, observing that most people talk shop, takes it for granted that they like to talk shop.Atlantic Classics, Second Series | Henry C. Merwin
Mrs. Birkett was puzzled what to say for the best to this uncomfortable fanatic, this unreasonable literalist.
British Dictionary definitions for literalism
the disposition to take words and statements in their literal sense
literal or realistic portrayal in art or literature
- literalist, noun
- literalistic, adjective
- literalistically, adverb
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