Word of the Day Archive
Thursday August 16, 2012
Related to literature regarded as a fine art, especially as having a purely aesthetic function.
Soon we were eagerly talking about our belletristic efforts. Butler was a short story writer who favored the “avant-garde” and who had translated several of Raymond Roussel's obscure “texts” into a stiff-jointed English. Lynne was writing a thesis on Max Jacob and his influence on Picasso.
-- Edmund White, The Farewell Symphony
Usually what I do is spread out my notebooks and Fielding's Guide to Worldwide Cruising 1995 and pens and various materials all over the bed, so when the Cabin Service guy appears at the door he'll see all this belletristic material and figure I'm working really hard on something belletristic right here in the cabin and have doubtless been too busy to have hit all the public meals and am thus legitimately entitled to the indulgence of Cabin Service.
-- David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
Belletristic is derived from the imported French phrase belles-lettres, which literally means "fine letters." It entered English in the early 1700s.