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scarlet letter

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noun
  1. a scarlet letter “A,” formerly worn by one convicted of adultery.
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Origin of scarlet letter

An Americanism dating back to 1840–50

Scarlet Letter, The

noun
  1. a novel (1850) by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scarlet letter

Historical Examples

  • Kedzie never feared that it might have a scarlet-letter significance.

    We Can't Have Everything

    Rupert Hughes


British Dictionary definitions for scarlet letter

scarlet letter

noun
  1. (esp among US Puritans) a scarlet letter A formerly worn by a person convicted of adultery
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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