[ let-er ]
/ ˈlɛt ər /
a written or printed communication addressed to a person or organization and usually transmitted by mail.
a symbol or character that is conventionally used in writing and printing to represent a speech sound and that is part of an alphabet.
a piece of printing type bearing such a symbol or character.
a particular style of type.
such types collectively.
Often letters. a formal document granting a right or privilege.
actual terms or wording; literal meaning, as distinct from implied meaning or intent (opposed to spirit): the letter of the law.
letters, (used with a singular or plural verb)
- literature in general.
- the profession of literature.
- learning; knowledge, especially of literature.
an emblem consisting of the initial or monogram of a school, awarded to a student for extracurricular activity, especially in athletics.
verb (used with object)
to mark or write with letters; inscribe.
verb (used without object)
to earn a letter in an interscholastic or intercollegiate activity, especially a sport: He lettered in track at Harvard.
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Idioms for letter
to the letter, to the last particular; precisely: His orders were carried out to the letter.
Origin of letter1
1175–1225; Middle English, variant of lettre < Old French < Latin littera alphabetic character, in plural, epistle, literature
SYNONYMS FOR letter
8 See literature.
OTHER WORDS FROM letterlet·ter·er, nounlet·ter·less, adjective
Words nearby letter
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for letterer
/ (ˈlɛtə) /
any of a set of conventional symbols used in writing or printing a language, each symbol being associated with a group of phonetic values in the language; character of the alphabet
a written or printed communication addressed to a person, company, etc, usually sent by post in an envelopeRelated adjective: epistolary
the letter the strict legalistic or pedantic interpretation of the meaning of an agreement, document, etc; exact wording as distinct from actual intention (esp in the phrase the letter of the law)Compare spirit 1 (def. 10)
printing archaic a style of typefacea fancy letter
to the letter
- following the literal interpretation or wording exactly
- attending to every detail
to write or mark letters on (a sign, etc), esp by hand
(tr) to set down or print using letters
See also letters
Derived forms of letterletterer, noun
Word Origin for letter
C13: from Old French lettre, from Latin littera letter of the alphabet
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
Idioms and Phrases with letterer
In addition to the idiom beginning with letter
- letter of the law
- bread and butter letter
- crank call (letter)
- dead letter
- four-letter word
- poison-pen letter
- red-letter day
- to the letter
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.