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From the plural of Latin litterātus (lettered, literate).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌlɪt.əˈɹɑː.tiː/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌlɪtəˈɹɑti/


literati pl (normally plural, singular literatus or literato)

  1. Well-educated, literary people; intellectuals who are interested in literature.
    • 1748, Tobias George Smollett, The Adventures of Roderick Random[1], Forgotten Books, published 2008, →ISBN, page 301:
      First, to Counsellor Fitzclabber, who, he told me, was then employed in compiling a history of the kings of Minster, from Irish manuscripts; and then to his friend Mr. Gahagan, who was a profound philosopher and politician, and had projected many excellent schemes for the good of his country. But it seems these literati had been very ill rewarded for their ingenious labours; for, between them both, there was but one shirt, and half a pair of breeches.
    • 1883, Isabella L. Bird, The Golden Chersonese and The Way Thither[2], BiblioBazaar, published 2008, →ISBN, Letter IV (Continued), page 83:
      He is not of the people, this lordly magistrate. He is one of the privileged literati. His literary degrees are high and numerous.
    • 1968, Max Weber, “Bureaucracy and Political Leadership”, in Reinhard Bendix, editor, State and Society: A Reader in Comparative Political Sociology[3], University of California Press, published 1973, →ISBN, page 307:
      Just like every other human organization, the selection of political leaders through the parties has its weaknesses, but these have been exposed ad nauseam by German literati during the last decades.
    • 2001, Roger L. Emerson, “The Scottish Literati and America, 1680–1800”, in Ned C. Landsman, editor, Nation and Province in the First British Empire: Scotland and the Americas,1600–1800[4], Bucknell University Press, →ISBN, page 183:
      Eighteenth-century Scottish intellectuals, the literati, had substantial interests in America. Yet no one has ever noticed just how extensive the ties were that bound the literati to the new world, or how relatively novel those were for Scots in the eighteenth century, and how they were formed and shaped.


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  1. inflection of literātus:
    1. nominative/vocative masculine plural
    2. genitive masculine/neuter singular