- 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.
Origin of literalism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for literalist
Today in politics, the mere word "Christian" ignites a series of associations: conservative, literalist, Republican, and so on.What Kind of Christian Is Barack Obama?
May 8, 2012
The literalist who started out to find a biblical order for education, as such, would come back from an unrewarded search.The Bible and Life
Edwin Holt Hughes
They are fed with the same truths; the literalist unconsciously, the idealist with reflection.Inspiration and Interpretation
Oh, it's 'entertaining' in the largest, literalist, dreariest sense of the word.Wives and Daughters
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
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
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 disposition to take words and statements in their literal sense
- literal or realistic portrayal in art or literature
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 literalist
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper