lettre de cachet


let·​tre de ca·​chet ˈle-trə-də-ˌka-ˈshā How to pronounce lettre de cachet (audio)
plural lettres de cachet ˈle-trə(z)-də-ˌka-ˈshā How to pronounce lettre de cachet (audio)
: a letter bearing an official seal and usually authorizing imprisonment without trial of a named person

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Sade would remain imprisoned until the Revolution abolished the lettre de cachet in 1790. Mitchell Abidor, The New York Review of Books, 12 Feb. 2020

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

Word History


French, literally, letter with a seal

First Known Use

1715, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lettre de cachet was in 1715

Dictionary Entries Near lettre de cachet

Cite this Entry

“Lettre de cachet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lettre%20de%20cachet. Accessed 28 May. 2023.

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