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Definition of literature

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lit·er·a·ture  audio  (ltr--chr, -chr) KEY 

  1. The body of written works of a language, period, or culture.
  2. Imaginative or creative writing, especially of recognized artistic value: "Literature must be an analysis of experience and a synthesis of the findings into a unity" (Rebecca West).
  3. The art or occupation of a literary writer.
  4. The body of written work produced by scholars or researchers in a given field: medical literature.
  5. Printed material: collected all the available literature on the subject.
  6. Music All the compositions of a certain kind or for a specific instrument or ensemble: the symphonic literature.

Middle English, book learning, from Old French litterature, from Latin littertra, from littertus, lettered ; see literate

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