Definition of epistolary in English:



  • 1(of a literary work) in the form of letters.

    ‘an epistolary novel’
    • ‘In one sense it is an epistolary novel, replete with plot and characters, scenes and backdrops.’
    • ‘Shklovsky's second literary book - Zoo, or Letters Not about Love - takes the form of an epistolary novel.’
    • ‘Also in 2004, her infamous epistolary vampire novel, The Letters of Mina Harker, was reprinted by the University of Wisconsin Press.’
    • ‘‘This is an epistolary novel so heartbreaking that no one is likely to surpass its emotional effects in a letter form’, writes Irving.’
    • ‘Richardson's epistolary novels hinge entirely on the emotional lives of his characters.’
    1. 1.1literary Relating to the writing of letters.
      • ‘One method used by writers of young adult literature to express these themes has been the epistolary, or letter writing form.’
      • ‘And the epistolary appearance of Lord Peter's mother - the apparently fluttery but always acute duchess, is certainly a Sayers highlight.’
      • ‘There is a long tradition of epistolary relationships and the only difference between us and, say, Victorian letter writers is that our letters get there faster.’
      • ‘Great care and attention should be devoted to epistolary correspondence, as nothing exhibits want of taste and judgment so much as a slovenly letter.’
      • ‘I think we're in a new epistolary age where style, ideas and facts matter.’


Mid 17th century from French épistolaire or Latin epistolaris, from epistola (see epistle).