- literature in general.
- the profession of literature.
- learning; knowledge, especially of literature.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- letter bomb,
- letter box,
- letter card,
- letter carrier,
- letter drop
Origin of letter1
noun Chiefly British.
Origin of letter2
Examples from the Web for letters
But then, I would look at the letters that people have sent.
In letters to Theo, Vincent would preach to younger brother the virtues of life.Decoding Vincent Van Gogh’s Tempestuous, Fragile Mind|Nick Mafi|December 7, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Its reporting and commentary on politics, society, and arts and letters have nurtured a broad liberal spirit in our national life.Facebook Prince Purges The New Republic: Inside the Destruction of a 100-Year-Old Magazine|Lloyd Grove|December 5, 2014|DAILY BEAST
This past week a new eBay auction announced the sale of “Ancient Egyptian papyrus with Greek letters—Bible.”Dismembering History: The Shady Online Trade in Ancient Texts|Candida Moss|November 23, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Letters would not be hidden away in bedrooms but stored on cell phones.
Queen Sophia's letters were couched in very energetic language.A History of Bohemian Literature|Count Ltzow
See "Boulter's Letters" on this subject of the English rule.The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, D.D., Vol. VII|Jonathan Swift
Four of the seven letters that constituted the whole correspondence are printed in the Mm.History of the Rise of the Huguenots|Henry Baird
A few copies of these letters were printed for the use of the Abbotsford Club.The Book-Hunter|John Hill Burton
In that way he could edit the letters before his secretary saw them.Tales Of Men And Ghosts|Edith Wharton
noun (functioning as plural or singular)
- following the literal interpretation or wording exactly
- attending to every detail
Word Origin for letter
"the profession of authorship or literature," mid-13c., from plural of letter (n.).
"one who lets" in any sense, c.1400, agent noun from let (v.).
c.1200, "graphic symbol, alphabetic sign, written character," from Old French letre (10c., Modern French lettre) "character, letter; missive, note," in plural, "literature, writing, learning," from Latin littera (also litera) "letter of the alphabet," of uncertain origin, perhaps via Etruscan from Greek diphthera "tablet," with change of d- to l- as in lachrymose. In this sense it replaced Old English bocstæf, literally "book staff" (cf. German Buchstabe "letter, character," from Old High German buohstab, from Proto-Germanic *bok-staba-m).
Latin littera also meant "a writing, document, record," and in plural litteræ "a letter, epistle," a sense first attested in English early 13c., replacing Old English ærendgewrit, literally "errand-writing." The Latin plural also meant "literature, books," and figuratively "learning, liberal education, schooling" (see letters). School letter in sports, attested by 1908, were said to have been first awarded by University of Chicago football coach Amos Alonzo Stagg. Expression to the letter "precisely" is from 1520s (earlier as after the letter). Letter-perfect is from 1845, originally in theater jargon, in reference to an actor knowing the lines exactly. Letter-press, in reference to matter printed from relief surfaces, is from 1840.
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