literature

Literature is writing, usually good, creative, or smart writing, or at least we hope it is. If you love books and have stacks of them at home, then you are a lover of literature.

Literature comes from the Latin root litterātūra, or lettered, but there are higher standards for literature than just something written down. Novels and stories are considered literature. If you're a practicing psychologist, you have keep up with the current literature on psychology, which is what researching psychologists write, not novels about shrinks. You might want your profession to be literature, but you'll probably have to teach literature while you're waiting for the book deal.

Definitions of literature
  1. noun
    published writings in a particular style on a particular subject
    “the technical literature
    “one aspect of Waterloo has not yet been treated in the literature
    see moresee less
    types:
    historiography
    a body of historical literature
    type of:
    piece of writing, writing, written material
    the work of a writer; anything expressed in letters of the alphabet (especially when considered from the point of view of style and effect)
  2. noun
    creative writing of recognized artistic value
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 6 types...
    hide 6 types...
    Sanskrit literature
    Hindu literature written in Sanskrit
    canon
    a set group of works that are considered to be high quality and representative of a field
    Hastinapura
    one of two classical Hindu epics; a great collection of poetry worked into and around a central heroic narrative (eight times as large as the Iliad and Odyssey combined)
    Purana
    a body of 18 works written between the first and 11th centuries and incorporating legends and speculative histories of the universe and myths and customary observances
    tantra
    any of a fairly recent class of Hindu or Buddhist religious literature concerned with ritual acts of body and speech and mind
    sutra
    a rule or aphorism in Sanskrit literature or a group of aphoristic doctrinal summaries prepared for memorization
    type of:
    piece of writing, writing, written material
    the work of a writer; anything expressed in letters of the alphabet (especially when considered from the point of view of style and effect)
  3. noun
    the profession or art of a writer
    “her place in literature is secure”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    profession
    an occupation requiring special education (especially in the liberal arts or sciences)
  4. noun
    the humanistic study of a body of literature
    synonyms: lit
    see moresee less
    type of:
    literary study
    the humanistic study of literature
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week