mis·​sive | \ ˈmi-siv How to pronounce missive (audio) \

Definition of missive

: a written communication : letter wrote a lengthy missive to her father

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Examples of missive in a Sentence

She received yet another lengthy missive from her father. the two old friends like to fire off missives filled with good-natured teasing and mock insults

Recent Examples on the Web

Lost in the president’s Twitter missives is that Baltimore, in more recent history, has been at the forefront of attempts to unwind deeply rooted patterns of housing segregation that have led to poverty, disinvestment and despair. Danielle Ohl, ProPublica, "Trump Called Baltimore “Vermin Infested” While the Federal Government Fails to Clean Up Rodents in Subsidized Housing," 14 Aug. 2019 For Sama is a missive from a young mother, Waad al-Kateab, to her daughter, elegantly telling the story of al-Kateab’s life through five harrowing years of the uprising in her beloved Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city. Brian Stewart, National Review, "For Sama: A Chronicle of the Syrian Tragedy," 10 Aug. 2019 Plus, DiCaro has something far more important to write than dismissive 240-character missives. Phil Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "WSCR-AM’s Julie DiCaro is still standing up to online bullies: ‘It feels good to let off a little steam’," 22 July 2019 As for its letters page per se, overly male or not, the Times does a decent job of running missives that are thoughtful, cogent, and well expressed. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "Fifty-Fifty Follies," 10 June 2019 Soon, inspectors were writing increasingly urgent missives to management. Julie Satow, New York Times, "The Widows of the Plaza Hotel," 7 June 2019 The Moving Chronicles is her biweekly missive about her adventures in moving to Benin. Joy Notoma, Longreads, "When to Throw a Goodbye Party," 19 July 2019 The missives, more one-liner than red alert, reflect how North Korea remains open to further talks but has few options—including risky weapons tests—to bend negotiations in its favor. Timothy W. Martin, WSJ, "North Korea Fires Insults at U.S., Spares Trump," 15 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'missive.' 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 missive

circa 1553, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for missive

Middle French lettre missive, literally, letter intended to be sent

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Statistics for missive

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for missive

The first known use of missive was circa 1553

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More Definitions for missive



English Language Learners Definition of missive

formal + humorous : a letter or other written message


mis·​sive | \ ˈmi-siv How to pronounce missive (audio) \

Kids Definition of missive

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More from Merriam-Webster on missive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for missive

Spanish Central: Translation of missive

Nglish: Translation of missive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of missive for Arabic Speakers

Comments on missive

What made you want to look up missive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

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