Belleslettre

belles-lettres

[French bel-le-truh]
plural noun
1.
literature regarded as a fine art, especially as having a purely aesthetic function.
2.
light and elegant literature, especially that which is excessively refined, characterized by aestheticism, and minor in subject, substance, or scope.

Origin:
1700–10; < French: literally, fine letters. See belle, letter1

belletrist [bel-le-trist] , noun
belletristic [bel-li-tris-tik] , adjective


1. See literature.
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World English Dictionary
belles-lettres (French bɛllɛtrə)
 
n
(functioning as singular) literary works, esp essays and poetry, valued for their aesthetic rather than their informative or moral content
 
[C17: from French: fine letters]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

belles-lettres
"elegant literature, aesthetics," 1710, from Fr., lit. "fine letters," from belles, pl. of belle, fem. of beau "fine, beautiful" + lettres, pl. of lettre "letter." The literary equivalent of beaux arts.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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