- a letter, especially a formal or didactic one; written communication.
- (usually initial capital letter) one of the apostolic letters in the New Testament.
- (often initial capital letter) an extract, usually from one of the Epistles of the New Testament, forming part of the Eucharistic service in certain churches.
Origin of epistle
Examples from the Web for epistle
There was plenty more like this--every epistle dumber than the previous--but you get the general idea.From ISIS to Ebola, What Has Made Naomi Wolf So Paranoid?
October 11, 2014
There is a reference to “pen and ink” in the 3d Epistle of John xiii.The Story of the Invention of Steel Pens
As Catherine finished this epistle, she lifted her eyes and beheld Philip.
"Your brother means well," said Philip, when he had concluded the epistle.
When he had finished this epistle, Rigaud folded it and tossed it with a flourish at Clennam's feet.Little Dorrit
I must beg your pardon for the epistle you sent me appearing in the Magazine.The Letters of Robert Burns
- a letter, esp one that is long, formal, or didactic
- a literary work in letter form, esp a dedicatory verse letter of a type originated by Horace
- New Testament any of the apostolic letters of Saints Paul, Peter, James, Jude, or John
- a reading from one of the Epistles, forming part of the Eucharistic service in many Christian Churches
Word Origin and History for epistle
Old English epistol, from Old French epistle, epistre (Modern French épitre), from Latin epistola "letter," from Greek epistole "message, letter, command, commission," whether verbal or in writing, from epistellein "send to," from epi "to" (see epi-) + stellein in its secondary sense of "to dispatch, send" from PIE *stel-yo-, suffixed form of root *stel- "to put, stand," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place (see stall (n.1)).
Also acquired in Old English directly from Latin as pistol. Specific sense of "letter from an apostle forming part of canonical scripture" is c.1200.