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[lit-uh-rah-tee] /ˌlɪt əˈrɑ ti/
plural noun, singular literatus
[lit-uh-rah-tuh s] /ˌlɪt əˈrɑ təs/ (Show IPA)
persons of scholarly or literary attainments; intellectuals.
1615-25; < Latin līterāti learned, scholarly people, noun use of plural of līterātus. See literate Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for literati
  • The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding.
  • The back-and-forth nonetheless started a debate among the literati about language and heritage.
  • The literati may be appalled, but her devoted fans relish every word.
  • But it doesn't help that these days even the literati have a hazy grasp of grammatical structure.
  • literati differ markedly on whether satire is persuasive.
British Dictionary definitions for literati


plural noun
literary or scholarly people
Word Origin
C17: from Latin
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 literati

"men and women of letters; the learned class as a whole," 1620s, from Latin literati/litterati, plural of literatus/litteratus "lettered" (see literate). The proper singular would be literatus, though Italian literato (1704) sometimes is used.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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