Definition of


  1. (noun, communication) a written message addressed to a person or organization
  2. (noun, communication) the conventional characters of the alphabet used to represent speech
  3. (noun, person) owner who lets another person use something (housing usually) for hire
  4. (noun, communication) a strictly literal interpretation (as distinct from the intention)
    he obeyed the letter of the law
  5. (noun, communication) an award earned by participation in a school sport
  6. (verb, possession) win an athletic letter
  7. (verb, creation) set down or print with letters
  8. (verb, creation) mark letters on or mark with letters

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Letter

  1. mid-12c., "graphic symbol, written character," from O.Fr. lettre, from L. littera (also litera) "letter of the alphabet," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Gk. diphthera "tablet," with change of d- to l- as in lachrymose. In this sense it replaced O.E. bocst?f, lit. "book staff" (cf. Ger. Buchstabe "letter, character," fro… more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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