Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of letter
Meaning of letter by Wiktionary Dictionary


    letters ( 1 )
    a letter ( 2 )

    Etymology 1

    Middle English letter, lettre, from Old French letre, from Latin littera ( “letter of the alphabet"; in plural:, "epistle” ), from Etruscan, from Ancient Greek διφθέρα ( diphtherā ). Displaced native Middle English bocstaf, bookstave ( “letter, alphabetic symbol” ) ( from Old English bōcstæf ( “alphabetic symbol, written character” ) ), Middle English bocrune, bocroune ( “letter, written character” ) ( from Old English bōc ( “book” ) + rūn ( “letter, rune” ) ), Middle English writrune, writroune ( “letter, document” ) ( from Old English writ ( “letter, epistle” ) + rūn ( “letter, rune” ) ), Old English ǣrendbōc ( “letter, message” ), Old English ǣrendġewrit ( “letter, written message” ) .


    • ( RP ) IPA: /ˈlɛt.ə/, X-SAMPA: /"lEt.@/
    • ( Australia ) IPA: /ˈlet.ə/, X-SAMPA: /"let.@/
    • ( GenAm ) IPA: /ˈlɛt.ɚ/, X-SAMPA: /"lEt.@`/
    • Rhymes: -ɛtə( r )
    • Hyphenation: let‧ter


    letter ( plural: letters )

    1. A symbol in an alphabet, bookstave .
      There are 26 letters in the English alphabet .
    2. A written message. See also note .
      I wrote a letter to my sister about my life .
    3. Literal meaning .
      "Some MEPs from some countries may have pocketed £2m more than I have by observing the letter but not the spirit of the rules." - [1]
    4. ( plural: ) literature
      Benjamin Franklin was multiskilled - a scientist, politician and a man of letters
    5. ( US, uncountable ) A size of paper, 8½ in × 11 in ( 215.9 mm × 279.4 mm, US paper sizes rounded to the nearest 5 mm )
    6. ( Canada, uncountable ) A size of paper, 215 mm × 280 mm
    7. ( US, scholastic ) Short for varsity letter .
    Derived terms
    Related terms

    Etymology 2

    let +‎ -er


    letter ( plural: letters )

    1. One who lets, or lets out .
      the letter of a room
      a blood-letter


    • frequency based on Project Gutenberg corpus">Most common English words before 1923: alone · body · point · #346: letter · become · became · second

    External links

    • letter in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • letter in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

Explanation of letter by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. mark letters on or mark with letters

    2. set down or print with letters

    3. win an athletic letter

    1. a written message addressed to a person or organization

    2. mailed an indignant letter to the editor
    3. an award earned by participation in a school sport

    4. he won letters in three sports
    5. the conventional characters of the alphabet used to represent speech

    6. his grandmother taught him his letters
    7. a strictly literal interpretation ( as distinct from the intention )

    8. he followed instructions to the letter
      he obeyed the letter of the law
    9. owner who lets another person use something ( housing usually ) for hire

    Definition of letter by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Letter ( lĕttẽr ), n. [From Let to permit.] One who lets or permits; one who lets anything for hire.

    2. Letter, n. [From Let to hinder.] One who retards or hinders. [Archaic.]

    3. Letter, 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.

      8. ( 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 letters, or night letters according to the time of sending, and by The Postal Telegraph Company day lettergrams, or night lettergrams.

      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 Letters 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, Letters overt, or Letters 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”. The common commercial patent is a derivative form of such a right. -- 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. One who writes letters. A machine for copying letters. A book giving directions and forms for the writing of letters.

    4. Letter ( lĕttẽr ), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Lettered ( -tẽrd ); p. pr. & vb. n. Lettering.] To impress with letters; to mark with letters or words; as, “a book gilt and lettered”.