Definitions for: Letter


[n] a written message addressed to a person or organization; "mailed an indignant letter to the editor"
[n] an award earned by participation in a school sport; "he won letters in three sports"
[n]
[n] a strictly literal interpretation (as distinct from the intention); "he followed instructions to the letter"; "he obeyed the letter of the law"
[n] owner who lets another person use something (housing usually) for hire
[v] mark letters on or mark with letters
[v] set down or print with letters
[v] win an athletic letter, in sports



Webster (1913) Definition: Let"ter (l[e^]t"t[~e]r), n. [From Let to permit.]
One who lets or permits; one who lets anything for hire.


Let"ter, n. [From Let to hinder.]
One who retards or hinders. [Archaic.]


Let"ter, n. [OE. lettre, F. lettre, OF. letre, fr. L.
littera, litera, a letter; pl., an epistle, a writing,
literature, fr. linere, litum, to besmear, to spread or rub
over; because one of the earliest modes of writing was by
graving the characters upon tablets smeared over or covered
with wax. --Pliny, xiii. 11. See Liniment, and cf.
Literal.]
1. A mark or character used as the representative of a sound,
or of an articulation of the human organs of speech; a
first element of written language.

And a superscription also was written over him in
letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew. --Luke
xxiii. 38.

2. A written or printed communication; a message expressed in
intelligible characters on something adapted to
conveyance, as paper, parchment, etc.; an epistle.

The style of letters ought to be free, easy, and
natural. --Walsh.

3. A writing; an inscription. [Obs.]

None could expound what this letter meant.
--Chaucer.

4. Verbal expression; literal statement or meaning; exact
signification or requirement.

We must observe the letter of the law, without doing
violence to the reason of the law and the intention
of the lawgiver. --Jer. Taylor.

I broke the letter of it to keep the sense.
--Tennyson.

5. (Print.) A single type; type, collectively; a style of
type.

Under these buildings . . . was the king's printing
house, and that famous letter so much esteemed.
--Evelyn.

6. pl. Learning; erudition; as, a man of letters.

7. pl. A letter; an epistle. [Obs.] --Chaucer.

Dead letter, Drop letter, etc. See under Dead, Drop,
etc.

Letter book, a book in which copies of letters are kept.

Letter box, a box for the reception of letters to be mailed
or delivered.

Letter carrier, a person who carries letters; a postman;
specif., an officer of the post office who carries letters
to the persons to whom they are addressed, and collects
letters to be mailed.

Letter cutter, one who engraves letters or letter punches.


Letter lock, a lock that can not be opened when fastened,
unless certain movable lettered rings or disks forming a
part of it are in such a position (indicated by a
particular combination of the letters) as to permit the
bolt to be withdrawn.

A strange lock that opens with AMEN. --Beau. & Fl.

Letter paper, paper for writing letters on; especially, a
size of paper intermediate between note paper and
foolscap. See Paper.

Letter punch, a steel punch with a letter engraved on the
end, used in making the matrices for type.

Letters of administration (Law), the instrument by which an
administrator or administratrix is authorized to
administer the goods and estate of a deceased person.

Letter of attorney, Letter of credit, etc. See under
Attorney, Credit, etc.

Letter of license, a paper by which creditors extend a
debtor's time for paying his debts.

Letters close or clause (Eng. Law.), letters or writs
directed to particular persons for particular purposes,
and hence closed or sealed on the outside; --
distinguished from letters patent. --Burrill.

Letters of orders (Eccl.), a document duly signed and
sealed, by which a bishop makes it known that he has
regularly ordained a certain person as priest, deacon,
etc.

Letters patent, overt, or open (Eng. Law), a writing
executed and sealed, by which power and authority are
granted to a person to do some act, or enjoy some right;
as, letters patent under the seal of England.

Letter-sheet envelope, a stamped sheet of letter paper
issued by the government, prepared to be folded and sealed
for transmission by mail without an envelope.

Letters testamentary (Law), an instrument granted by the
proper officer to an executor after probate of a will,
authorizing him to act as executor.

Letter writer.
(a) One who writes letters.
(b) A machine for copying letters.
(c) A book giving directions and forms for the writing of
letters.


Let"ter (l[e^]t"t[~e]r), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Lettered
(-t[~e]rd); p. pr. & vb. n. Lettering.]
To impress with letters; to mark with letters or words; as, a
book gilt and lettered.


Let"ter, n. (Teleg.)
A telegram longer than an ordinary message sent at rates
lower than the standard message rate in consideration of its
being sent and delivered subject to priority in service of
regular messages. Such telegrams are called by the Western
Union Company day, or night, letters according to the time
of sending, and by The Postal Telegraph Company {day, or
night, lettergrams}.

Synonyms: alphabetic character, letter of the alphabet, missive, varsity letter

See Also: A, accolade, address, aerogram, aerogramme, air letter, airmail letter, alpha, alphabet, ascender, award, B, beta, business letter, C, chain letter, character, correspondence, cover letter, covering letter, crank letter, D, dead letter, delta, descender, destination, digraph, document, E, earn, encyclical, encyclical letter, epistle, epsilon, eta, F, form letter, G, gamma, garner, grapheme, graphic symbol, H, honor, honour, I, impress, initial, invitation, iota, J, K, kappa, L, lambda, laurels, letter of intent, literal interpretation, M, mail, mu, N, name and address, nu, O, omicron, open letter, owner, P, pastoral, personal letter, pi, postscript, print, proprietor, PS, Q, R, rho, round robin, S, sigma, spelling, T, tau, text, textual matter, theta, U, V, W, write, X, xi, Y, Z, zed, zee, zeta

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Famous Quotes Containing Letter:


I did write a letter to the archdiocese who'd banned the song, Only the Good Die Young, asking them to ban my next record.

-- Billy Joel (American Musician)

At one time I thought the Editor of the Lancet would kindly publish a letter from me on the subject, but further reflection led me to doubt whether so insignificant an individual would be noticed without some special introduction.

-- William Banting (English Celebrity)

Censorship feeds the dirty mind more than the four-letter word itself.

-- Dick Cavett (American Entertainer)

I was dating this guy and we would spend all day text messaging each other. And he thought that he could tell that he liked me more because he actually spelt the word 'YOU' and I just put the letter 'U'.

-- Kelly Osbourne (English Actress)

Make no mistake about it: once a band has signed a letter of intent, they will either eventually sign a contract that suits the label or they will be destroyed.

-- Steve Albini (American Musician)

In business a reputation for keeping absolutely to the letter and spirit of an agreement, even when it is unfavorable, is the most precious of assets, although it is not entered in the balance sheet.

-- Lord Chandos ( -)

She kindly laments that I am not of the party, and to be sure I honour great ladies, and I admire great wits, but I am of the same opinion in regard to assemblies that is held concerning oysters, that they are never good in a month that has not the letter R in it.

-- Elizabeth Montagu (British Writer)

This at least should be a rule through the letter-writing world: that no angry letter be posted till four-and-twenty hours will have elapsed since it was written.

-- Anthony Trollope (English Author)

The thing is, acoustic could be like a four-letter word to a lot of kids.

-- Billie Joe Armstrong (American Musician)

If a university official's letter accusing a speaker of having a proclivity to commit speech crimes before she's given the speech - which then leads to Facebook postings demanding that Ann Coulter be hurt, a massive riot and a police-ordered cancellation of the speech - is not hate speech, then there is no such thing as hate speech.

-- Ann Coulter (American Journalist)

Someone who does an act. In a democratic society, you're supposed to be an activist; that is, you participate. It could be a letter written to an editor.

-- Studs Terkel (American Journalist)

The decision violates both the letter and spirit of the law.

-- Philip E. Berger (American Politician)

I got a chain letter by fax. It's very simple. You just fax a dollar bill to everybody on the list.

-- Steven Wright (American Comedian)

I have been committed to carrying out my duties... in accordance with both the letter and spirit of all applicable rules of ethics and canons of conduct.

-- Samuel Alito ( -)

I hold that the parentheses are by far the most important parts of a non-business letter.

-- David Herbert Lawrence (English Writer)

No one in the whole movie ever asks anyone, Did you write this letter' Part of the reason is that no one wants to hear that it isn't for them. As soon as they read it, they want it to be theirs.

-- Kate Capshaw (American Actress)

I am now in Gibraltar. It is a large place and there does not seem to be room in this letter, in which to express my feelings about Moors in bare legs and six thousand Red-coats and to hear Englishmen speak again.

-- Richard H. Davis ( -)

You get a letter from her agency embracing you into the family that says, 'It is our goal now to help you achieve your dream of being a songwriter, in John's memory.'

-- Arthur Godfrey (American Entertainer)

In fact, in some ways, I actually feel much more confident about the quality of Carousel than I do about The Cottage Builder's Letter: probably because of its cohesive nature.

-- George Murray (Canadian Poet)

A good face they say, is a letter of recommendation. O Nature, Nature, why art thou so dishonest, as ever to send men with these false recommendations into the World!

-- Henry Fielding (English Novelist)

There are many members of parliament present here who know as well as I do that, if a man has not already been converted, it will require a great deal more than a letter of appeal to achieve conversion.

-- Fredrik Bajer (Danish Writer)

I became a connoisseur of that nasty thud a manuscript makes when it comes through the letter box.

-- James Herriot (British Writer)

My faith grew strong, and I sent a letter (as I was ordered) to the Rev. Dignitary of the Cathedral of Exeter. I was assured, before I sent it, he would not answer it.

-- Joanna Southcott (English Celebrity)

We have had such a letter movement on two occasions in Denmark when more than a quarter of the adult Danish population participated. Such an achievement, however, demands a really great effort and also a great deal of money.

-- Fredrik Bajer (Danish Writer)

He didn't want to tell his son what to do, but told me to write the president a letter. I didn't name a country, but there are many countries we have a fragile relationship with.

-- George Herbert Walker (American Businessman)

You don't expect to get the letter saying, Her Majesty would like to appoint you Knight Commander of the British Empire! It was just a completely overwhelming and exciting day.

-- Antony Sher (South African Writer)

You know when I really realized like "wow" what a gift this is was when I sang at camp and a girl wrote me a letter and said the song that I sung kept her from committing suicide.

-- Charles King ( Politician)

The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter.

-- Blaise Pascal (French Philosopher)

I wrote that letter, and the one to Nixon. And I wrote more letters, and I thought it might be a magazine article. At that time I sent it to Esquire and Playboy, but anyway, I kept writing, and all of sudden I had enough and thought, well maybe it is a book.

-- Don Novello (American Writer)

I got one letter at the very beginning, like, in the first season, saying - from a woman who was very religious, very Christian, saying how wrong she thought the show was, but she thinks it's the funniest show on television.

-- Sean Hayes (American Actor)

A prose writer gets tired of writing prose, and wants to be a poet. So he begins every line with a capital letter, and keeps on writing prose.

-- Samuel McChord Crothers ( -)

Above all, a query letter is a sales pitch and it is the single most important page an unpublished writer will ever write. It's the first impression and will either open the door or close it. It's that important, so don't mess it up. Mine took 17 drafts and two weeks to write.

-- Nicholas Sparks (American Author)

A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.

-- Jane Austen (British Writer)

In 1795, I sent him another letter, telling him, that danger still stood before us, and that the truth of what I had written in 1792 was to be proved by 12 men.

-- Joanna Southcott (English Celebrity)

Every person who is offered a knighthood has the opportunity to say yes or no. You get a letter from the Prime Minister saying you've been recommended for a knighthood and there are two little boxes, one says yes, one says no.

-- Derek Jacobi (British Actor)


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