dead letter

noun
|Updated on: 19 Jul 2018

Definition of dead letter

1 : something that has lost its force or authority without being formally abolished
2 : a letter that is undeliverable and unreturnable by the post office

Recent Examples of dead letter from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dead letter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of dead letter

1627

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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DEAD LETTER Defined for English Language Learners

dead letter

Definition of dead letter for English Language Learners

  • : a letter that cannot be delivered or returned by the post office because of an incorrect address or other problem

  • : a law or agreement that has lost its force or authority


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