- pertaining to or of the nature of books and writings, especially those classed as literature: literary history.
- pertaining to authorship: literary style.
- versed in or acquainted with literature; well-read.
- engaged in or having the profession of literature or writing: a literary man.
- characterized by an excessive or affected display of learning; stilted; pedantic.
- preferring books to actual experience; bookish.
Origin of literary
In this dictionary, the label Literary is assigned to an entry term or definition that is used rarely in contemporary speech or writing except to create a literary, poetic, or evocative effect.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- of, relating to, concerned with, or characteristic of literature or scholarly writinga literary discussion; a literary style
- versed in or knowledgeable about literaturea literary man
- (of a word) formal; not colloquial
Word Origin for literary
C17: from Latin litterārius concerning reading and writing. See letter
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
1640s, "pertaining to alphabet letters," from French littéraire, from Latin literarius/litterarius "belonging to letters or learning," from littera/litera "letter" (see letter (n.1)). Meaning "pertaining to literature" is attested from 1737.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper