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4 definitions found
 for literature
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Literature \Lit"er*a*ture\ (l[i^]t"[~e]r*[.a]*t[-u]r; 135), n.
     [F. litt['e]rature, L. litteratura, literatura, learning,
     grammar, writing, fr. littera, litera, letter. See Letter.]
     1. Learning; acquaintance with letters or books.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. The collective body of literary productions, embracing the
        entire results of knowledge and fancy preserved in
        writing; also, the whole body of literary productions or
        writings upon a given subject, or in reference to a
        particular science or branch of knowledge, or of a given
        country or period; as, the literature of Biblical
        criticism; the literature of chemistry.
        [1913 Webster]
     3. The class of writings distinguished for beauty of style or
        expression, as poetry, essays, or history, in distinction
        from scientific treatises and works which contain positive
        knowledge; belles-lettres.
        [1913 Webster]
     4. The occupation, profession, or business of doing literary
        work. --Lamb.
     Syn: Science; learning; erudition; belles-lettres.
     Usage: See Science. -- Literature, Learning,
            Erudition. Literature, in its widest sense, embraces
            all compositions in writing or print which preserve
            the results of observation, thought, or fancy; but
            those upon the positive sciences (mathematics, etc.)
            are usually excluded. It is often confined, however,
            to belles-lettres, or works of taste and sentiment, as
            poetry, eloquence, history, etc., excluding abstract
            discussions and mere erudition. A man of literature
            (in this narrowest sense) is one who is versed in
            belles-lettres; a man of learning excels in what is
            taught in the schools, and has a wide extent of
            knowledge, especially, in respect to the past; a man
            of erudition is one who is skilled in the more
            recondite branches of learned inquiry.
            [1913 Webster]
                  The origin of all positive science and
                  philosophy, as well as of all literature and
                  art, in the forms in which they exist in
                  civilized Europe, must be traced to the Greeks.
                                                    --Sir G. C.
            [1913 Webster]
                  Learning thy talent is, but mine is sense.
            [1913 Webster]
                  Some gentlemen, abounding in their university
                  erudition, fill their sermons with philosophical
                  terms.                            --Swift.
            [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: creative writing of recognized artistic value
      2: the humanistic study of a body of literature; "he took a
         course in Russian lit" [syn: literature, lit]
      3: 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"
      4: the profession or art of a writer; "her place in literature
         is secure"

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  102 Moby Thesaurus words for "literature":
     French literature, Renaissance literature, ancient literature,
     article, autograph, belles lettres, belles-lettres, bibliography,
     body of knowledge, body of learning, brainchild, brochures,
     circulars, classics, composition, computer printout,
     contemporary literature, copy, cyclopedia, data, document, draft,
     edited version, encyclopedia, engrossment, erotic literature,
     erotica, essay, facts, fair copy, fiction, final draft,
     finished version, first draft, flimsy, folk literature, holograph,
     humane letters, information, kitsch, leaflets, letter, letters,
     literae scriptae, literary artefact, literary production, lore,
     lucubration, manuscript, materials, matter, medieval literature,
     national literature, nonfiction, obscene literature, opus,
     original, pamphlets, paper, parchment, penscript, piece,
     piece of writing, play, poem, polite literature, pop literature,
     popular literature, pornographic literature, pornography,
     printed matter, printout, production, propaganda,
     pseudonymous literature, publications, publicity, reading matter,
     recension, republic of letters, scatological literature, screed,
     scrip, script, scrive, scroll, second draft, serious literature,
     store of knowledge, system of knowledge, the written word,
     transcript, transcription, travel literature,
     treasury of information, typescript, underground literature,
     version, wisdom literature, work, writing, writings

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (30 December 2018) :

     The literature.  Computer-science journals and other
     publications, vaguely gestured at to answer a question that
     the speaker believes is trivial.  Thus, one might answer an
     annoying question by saying "It's in the literature."  Oppose
     Knuth, which has no connotation of triviality.

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