1

letter

play
noun let·ter \ ˈle-tər \

Definition of letter

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 letters plural in form but singular or plural in construction
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

Origin and Etymology of letter

Middle English, from Anglo-French lettre, from Latin littera letter of the alphabet, litterae, plural, epistle, literature

Other Alphabet Terms


2

letter

verb

Definition of letter

transitive verb
1 :to set down in letters :print
2 :to mark with letters
intransitive verb
:to win an athletic letter

letterer

play \ˈle-tər-ər\ noun

First Known Use of letter

1504


3

letter

play
noun let·ter \ ˈle-tər \

Definition of letter

:one that rents or leases

First Known Use of letter

1552



LETTER Defined for English Language Learners

letter

verb

Definition of letter for English Language Learners

  • : to write or print letters on (something) : to mark (something) with letters

  • : to earn a school letter for playing on a sports team


LETTER Defined for Kids

1

letter

play
noun let·ter \ ˈle-tər \

Definition of letter for Students

1 :one of the marks that are symbols for speech sounds in writing or print and that make up the alphabet
2 :a written or printed communication (as one sent through the mail)
3 letters plural :literature 2
4 :the strict or outward meaning
  • the letter of the law
5 :the initial of a school awarded to a student usually for athletic achievement

2

letter

verb

Definition of letter for Students

lettered; lettering
:to mark with symbols for speech sounds
  • … I carefully lettered H-E-L-P on the sand …
  • —Theodore Taylor, The Cay

Law Dictionary

letter

noun let·ter

legal Definition of letter

1 :a direct written statement addressed to an individual or organization; broadly :an official communication — see also counterletter
Crummey letter \ˈkrə-mē\
:a letter from the trustee of a Crummey trust notifying the beneficiary of his or her right to withdraw funds for a given time
determination letter
:a letter from an administrative agency (as the Internal Revenue Service) usually in response to a request in which a determination, decision, or ruling is made
information letter
:a letter from an administrative agency usually in response to a request that provides information and especially that simply calls attention to an interpretation or principle of law
letter of intent
:a letter in which the intention to enter into a formal agreement (as a contract) or to take some specified action is stated
letter rogatory \-ˈrō-gə-ˌtȯr-ē\
probably partial translation of Medieval Latin littera rogatoria letter of request
:a formal written request by a court to a court in a foreign jurisdiction to summon and examine a witness in accordance with that jurisdiction's procedures (as oral interrogatories) usually used in pl.
90-day letter
:a letter from the Internal Revenue Service notifying a taxpayer of a determination of a deficiency
Note: A taxpayer has 90 days from the date of the mailing of the 90-day letter to petition for a redetermination of the deficiency in the U.S. Tax Court.
no-action letter
:a letter from an attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission recommending that the Commission take no prosecutorial action with regard to a suspected and investigated violation of SEC rules or regulations
opinion letter
:a letter in which an opinion (as of a court or attorney) is given
ruling letter
:determination letter in this entry
30-day letter
:a letter from the Internal Revenue Service to a taxpayer who has been audited and disputes the auditor's determination that sets out the taxpayer's right to appeal
Note: A taxpayer has 30 days from the time of the mailing of the 30-day letter to respond.
2 :a written communication usually from a court containing a grant (as of a right) or an appointment usually used in pl.
letter of attorney
letter of marque \-ˈmärk\
Anglo-French mark, marque right of retaliation, from Middle French marque, from Old Provençal marca, from marcar to mark, seize as pledge
:a letter from a government formerly used to grant a private person the power to seize the subjects of a foreign state; specifically :authority granted to a private person to fit out an armed ship to plunder the enemy usually used in pl. often used in the phrase letters of marque and reprisal
  • the Congress shall have power…to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water
  • U.S. Constitution art. I
letters of administration
:a letter from a probate court that appoints the addressee administrator of an estate
letters patent
:a letter (as from a government) that grants a designated person a right (as to property) and that is in a form open for public inspection :patent
letters testamentary
:a letter from a probate court that appoints or confirms the executor of an estate


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