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[ih-pis-tl-er-ee] /ɪˈpɪs tlˌɛr i/
contained in or carried on by letters:
an epistolary friendship.
of, relating to, or consisting of letters.
Origin of epistolary
1650-60; < Latin epistolāris of, belonging to a letter. See epistle, -ar1
Related forms
unepistolary, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for epistolary
  • The epistolary novel has a distinguished ancestry and is a notoriously difficult form.
  • It takes courage to adapt an epistolary novel for the screen, particularly one as psychologically complex as this one.
  • Gurney has written an evocative epistolary account of two charter members of the privileged set.
  • Lodge's form is a computerized variation on the epistolary.
  • Everyone speaks slightly stilted, epistolary dialogue.
  • Nevin's epistolary example of shooting oneself in the intellect.
  • Their epistolary friendship, the equivalent of meeting online today, becomes a romance.
  • epistolary romance seems to have existed as long as romance itself.
  • The two embark on an epistolary relationship and tentatively begin to open up to each other.
  • Use for the author of a dedication, which may be a formal statement or in epistolary or verse form.
British Dictionary definitions for epistolary


relating to, denoting, conducted by, or contained in letters
(of a novel or other work) constructed in the form of a series of letters
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
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Word Origin and History for epistolary

1650s, from French épistolaire, from Latin epistolaris, from epistola (see epistle).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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