letter

1
[ let-er ]
/ ˈlɛt ər /

noun

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.

Nearby words

  1. letronne,
  2. lets,
  3. lett,
  4. lett.,
  5. letted,
  6. letter bomb,
  7. letter box,
  8. letter card,
  9. letter carrier,
  10. letter drop

Idioms

    to the letter, to the last particular; precisely: His orders were carried out to the letter.

Origin of letter

1
1175–1225; Middle English, variant of lettre < Old French < Latin littera alphabetic character, in plural, epistle, literature

Related formslet·ter·er, nounlet·ter·less, adjective

Can be confusedletter lighter liter litter

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for to the letter

letter

/ (ˈlɛtə) /

noun

verb

to write or mark letters on (a sign, etc), esp by hand
(tr) to set down or print using letters
See also letters

Derived Formsletterer, 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

Word Origin and History for to the letter
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with to the letter

to the letter

Precisely, as in If you follow the directions to the letter, you can't go wrong. Letter here refers to the exact terms of some statement. [c. 1800]

letter

In addition to the idiom beginning with letter

  • letter of the law

also see:

  • 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.