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[let-er-boks] /ˈlɛt ərˌbɒks/
Also, letter box. Chiefly British. a public or private mailbox.
Digital Technology, Television. a technique for displaying a wide-screen film or landscape video on a narrower screen by reducing its size but retaining the aspect ratio, with black bands filling the screen above and below the picture (often used attributively):
letterbox videos.
Compare pan and scan, pillarbox (def 1).
verb (used with object)
Digital Technology, Television. to display (a film or video) by using the letterbox technique.
Origin of letterbox
First recorded in 1765-75; letter1 + box1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for letterbox
Historical Examples
  • There must be a rural delivery, and if so, at the gate would be a letterbox.

    The Rest Hollow Mystery Rebecca N. Porter
  • Putting pieces of folded brown paper in the letterbox for her.

    Ulysses James Joyce
  • There was a letterbox at the corner, a foot from the older man's shoulder.

    The Lifted Bandage

    Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews
  • The lid flew back, and we pressed forward, and each ran his hand down into the letterbox.

    In the Fog Richard Harding Davis
  • That letter he dropped into the Pixley letterbox himself that night, and so was assured of its delivery.

    Pearl of Pearl Island John Oxenham
  • Friend Fox thanked him very kindly, made himself very small, and was out of sight like a letter in a letterbox.

    The Fairy Ring Various
  • Among them I expected to see a letterbox; but there was nothing that looked like despatches.

  • She had known Culpepper would come from the moment she dropped her note to him in the letterbox at the corner last night.

    Selina George Madden Martin
  • It was almost two o'clock the next morning when he passed the letterbox at the trail to the Widow Miller's place.

  • The front door should have a knocker and a letterbox, and around both the door and the windows should be imitation framework.

Slang definitions & phrases for letterbox



To show a wide-screen movie on the television screen by reducing its size and putting black bars above and below: Today we'll see a wide-format, letterboxed edition, which is rarely telecast/ ''letterboxing,'' which retains theatrical images on a rectangular shape (1990s+ Television)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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