letters patent

plural noun

: a writing (as from a sovereign) that confers on a designated person a grant in a form open for public inspection

Examples of letters patent in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Two counselors can be appointed to act on the monarch’s behalf through what’s known as a letters patent and help keep the state ticking over. Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN, 7 Feb. 2024 This is due to a letters patent issued by King George V in 1917, which stated that only the children of the sovereign, the children of the sons of the sovereign, and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales could be princes and princesses. Erica Gonzales, ELLE, 8 Sep. 2022 This is also a reminder that, unless King Charles issues a new letters patent to remove the titles, the decision is not in the monarchy's hands. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, 11 Mar. 2023 Now, the letters patent making Prince William the Prince of Wales passed the Great Seal of the Realm. Stephanie Petit, Peoplemag, 24 Feb. 2023 Along with becoming the Prince of Wales, the letters patent also decreed that William is granted the title of Earl of Chester. Stephanie Petit, Peoplemag, 24 Feb. 2023 According to Reader's Digest, Philip was crowned prince when Elizabeth issued a letters patent. Samantha Olson, Seventeen, 16 Nov. 2022 During the trip, Charles is scheduled to unveil a new eco-friendly train named after Amess and to deliver letters patent to Mayor Margaret Borton, officially designating Southend as a city—the 52nd in all of England. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 25 Feb. 2022 When the title was granted to Philip, a letters patent was issued by the king, stating that the title would one day be inherited by the duke’s eldest son, Prince Charles — also next in line to the British throne. Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'letters patent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of letters patent was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near letters patent

Cite this Entry

“Letters patent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/letters%20patent. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Legal Definition

letters patent

see letter sense 2

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