epis·​tle | \ i-ˈpi-səl How to pronounce epistle (audio) \

Definition of epistle

1 capitalized
a : one of the letters adopted as books of the New Testament
b : a liturgical lection usually from one of the New Testament Epistles
2a : letter especially : a formal or elegant letter
b : a composition in the form of a letter

Other Words from epistle

epistler \ i-​ˈpi-​sə-​lər How to pronounce epistle (audio) \ noun

Examples of epistle in a Sentence

St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. He penned lengthy epistles to her.
Recent Examples on the Web In its paper-thin hypocrisy, his video epistle Was a minute-long rendition of his usual dog whistle. John Lithgow, The New Yorker, 27 Sep. 2021 The group epistle was sent to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a division of HHS that works on research and tools to improve health care and policy. Tom Simonite, Wired, 24 Sep. 2020 His epistle to the American legal community drew cheers from Ahmari, who already shares his skepticism of the prevailing liberal order. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 2 Apr. 2020 Nearly everything that worked so well the first time falls apart in the new series, which becomes a languorously long, frequently cryptic epistle on the sin of letting style conquer substance. Washington Post, 12 Jan. 2020 An epistle from space, written by an older and wiser society, could be detected by our radio telescopes; the aliens might then invite us to join a galactic federation of enlightened peers who communicate in a universal tongue. Adam Mann, The New Yorker, 3 Oct. 2019 The first epistle came from Sheldon Whitehouse, who wrote on behalf of fellow Democrats Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Richard Durbin and Kirsten Gillibrand. S.m. | New York, The Economist, 11 Sep. 2019 This kind of aphorism fills the space left not only by the epigram but by the epistles once exchanged by friends with time to be funny. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 15 July 2019 Consider the question of the authorship of Paul’s epistles. Barton Swaim, WSJ, 9 July 2019

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

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First Known Use of epistle

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for epistle

Middle English, letter, Epistle, from Anglo-French, from Latin epistula, epistola letter, from Greek epistolē message, letter, from epistellein to send to, from epi- + stellein to send

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Time Traveler for epistle

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The first known use of epistle was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near epistle



Epistle of Jeremiah

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Cite this Entry

“Epistle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epistle. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of epistle

: any one of the letters to the early Christians that are part of the New Testament
: letter

More from Merriam-Webster on epistle

Nglish: Translation of epistle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of epistle for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about epistle


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