I. noun Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French lettre, from Latin littera letter of the alphabet, litterae, plural, epistle, literature Date: 13th century 1. a symbol usually written or printed representing a speech sound and constituting a unit of an alphabet 2. a. a direct or personal written or printed message addressed to a person or organization b. a written communication containing a grant — usually used in plural 3. plural but singular or plural in construction a. literature, belles lettres b. learning 4. the strict or outward sense or significance <
the letter of the law
5. a. a single piece of type b. a style of type 6. the initial of a school awarded to a student for achievement usually in athletics II. verb Date: 1668 transitive verb 1. to set down in letters ; print 2. to mark with letters intransitive verb to win an athletic letter • letterer noun III. noun Date: 1552 one that rents or leases

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • letter — let‧ter [ˈletə ǁ ər] noun [countable] 1. a written or printed message that is usually put in an envelope and sent by mail: • Please sign the letter and mail it back within two weeks. alloˈcation ˌletter also alˈlotment ˌletter FINANCE a letter… …   Financial and business terms

  • letter — let·ter n 1: a direct written statement addressed to an individual or organization; broadly: an official communication see also counterletter determination letter: a letter from an administrative agency (as the Internal Revenue Service) usu. in… …   Law dictionary

  • Letter — 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Letter — and similar can mean: *Letter (alphabet), a grapheme, part of an alphabet, abjad, abugida, or syllabary *Letter (message), correspondence, a written message *Letter (paper size), the letter size paper * Letters can also mean literature, as in… …   Wikipedia

  • letter — letter, epistle, missive, note, message, dispatch, report, memorandum are comparable when they mean a communication sent or transmitted as distinct from one conveyed directly from source to recipient (as by oral utterance). Letter is the ordinary …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • letter — letter1 [let′ər] n. [ME lettre < OFr < L littera, letter of the alphabet, (in pl.) a letter, epistle] 1. a written or printed symbol employed to represent a speech sound or sounds; character in an alphabet: in some languages, as English,… …   English World dictionary

  • letter — ► NOUN 1) a character representing one or more of the sounds used in speech; any of the symbols of an alphabet. 2) a written, typed, or printed communication, sent by post or messenger. 3) the precise terms of a statement or requirement. 4)… …   English terms dictionary

  • Letter — Sf erw. fach. (17. Jh.) Entlehnung. In Anlehnung an frz. lettre umgebildet aus älterem Litter, das in mittelhochdeutscher Zeit aus l. littera Buchstabe entlehnt ist (frz. lettre ist dessen lautgerechter Nachfolger). Die Herkunft des lateinischen… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • letter — [n1] symbol of an alphabet ABCs*, alphabet, cap, capital, character, majuscule, minuscule, rune, sign, small letter, type, uncial; concept 284 Ant. number letter [n2] written communication acknowledgment, answer, billet, dispatch, epistle, junk… …   New thesaurus

  • letter — According to the Private Express Statutes, a message directed to a specific person or an address and recorded in or on a tangible object. Also a shortened way to refer to letter size mail …   Glossary of postal terms

  • Letter — Let ter, n. [From {Let} to hinder.] One who retards or hinders. [Archaic.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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