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  1. a written message; letter.
  1. sent or about to be sent, especially of a letter from an official source.

Origin of missive

1400–50; late Middle English (letter) missive < Medieval Latin (littera) missīva sent (letter), equivalent to Latin miss(us) (past participle of mittere to send) + -īva, feminine of -īvus -ive
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for missive


  1. a formal or official letter
  2. a formal word for letter
  1. rare sent or intended to be sent

Word Origin

C15: from Medieval Latin missivus, from mittere to send
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for missive


mid-15c., "commandment," noun use of adjective (mid-15c.) meaning "sent by superior authority," from Medieval Latin missivus "for sending, sent," especially in littera missiva "letters sent," from Latin missus, past participle of mittere "to send" (see mission).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper