What does letter mean?

Definitions for letter
ˈlɛt ərlet·ter

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word letter.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. letter, missivenoun

    a written message addressed to a person or organization

    "mailed an indignant letter to the editor"

  2. letter, letter of the alphabet, alphabetic characternoun

    the conventional characters of the alphabet used to represent speech

    "his grandmother taught him his letters"

  3. letternoun

    owner who lets another person use something (housing usually) for hire

  4. letternoun

    a strictly literal interpretation (as distinct from the intention)

    "he followed instructions to the letter"; "he obeyed the letter of the law"

  5. letter, varsity letterverb

    an award earned by participation in a school sport

    "he won letters in three sports"

  6. letterverb

    win an athletic letter

  7. letterverb

    set down or print with letters

  8. letterverb

    mark letters on or mark with letters


  1. letternoun

    A symbol in an alphabet, bookstave.

    There are 26 letters in the English alphabet.

  2. letternoun

    A written message. See also note.

    I wrote a letter to my sister about my life.

  3. letter

    Literal meaning.

    "Some MEPs from some countries may have pocketed u00A32m more than I have by observing the letter but not the spirit of the rules." -

  4. letter

    A size of paper, 8½ in × 11 in (215.9 mm × 279.4 mm, US paper sizes rounded to the nearest 5 mm)

  5. letter

    A size of paper, 215 mm × 280 mm

  6. letterverb

    to print, inscribe, or paint letters on something.

  7. letterverb

    To earn a varsity letter (award).

  8. letternoun

    One who lets, or lets out.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Letternoun

    Etymology: from let.

  2. LETTERnoun

    Etymology: from let.

    A superscription was written over him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. Luke xxiii. 38.

    Thou whoreson Zed! thou unnecessary letter! William Shakespeare.

    They use to write it on the top of letters. William Shakespeare.

    I have a letter from her
    Of such contents as you will wonder at. William Shakespeare.

    When a Spaniard would write a letter by him, the Indian would marvel how it should be possible, that he, to whom he came, should be able to know all things. George Abbot.

    The asses will do very well for trumpeters, and the hares will make excellent letter carriers. Roger L'Estrange, Fables.

    The stile of letters ought to be free, easy, and natural; as near approaching to familiar conversation as possible: the two best qualities in conversation are, good humour and good breeding; those letters are therefore certainly the best that shew the most of these two qualities. William Walsh.

    Mrs. P. B. has writ to me, and is one of the best letter writers I know; very good sense, civility, and friendship, without any stiffness or constraint. Jonathan Swift.

    Touching translations of holy scripture, we may not disallow of their painful travels herein, who strictly have tied themselves to the very original letter. Richard Hooker, b. v.

    In obedience to human laws, we must observe the letter of the law, without doing violence to the reason of the law, and the intention of the lawgiver. Jeremy Taylor, holy living.

    Those words of his must be understood not according to the bare rigour of the letter, but according to the allowances of expression. Robert South, Sermons.

    What! since the pretor did my fetters loose,
    And left me freely at my own dispose,
    May I not live without controul and awe,
    Excepting still the letter of the law? John Dryden, Persius.

    The Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? John vii. 15.

    Good laws are at best but a dead letter. Joseph Addison, Freeholder.

    The iron ladles that letter founders use to the casting of printing letters, are kept constantly in melting metal. Joseph Moxon.

  3. To Letterverb

    To stamp with letters.

    Etymology: from letter.

    I observed one weight lettered on both sides; and I found on one side, written in the dialect of men, and underneath it, calamities; on the other side was written, in the language of the gods, and underneath, blessings. Addison.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Letternoun

    one who lets or permits; one who lets anything for hire

  2. Letternoun

    one who retards or hinders

  3. Letternoun

    a mark or character used as the representative of a sound, or of an articulation of the human organs of speech; a first element of written language

  4. Letternoun

    a written or printed communication; a message expressed in intelligible characters on something adapted to conveyance, as paper, parchment, etc.; an epistle

  5. Letternoun

    a writing; an inscription

  6. Letternoun

    verbal expression; literal statement or meaning; exact signification or requirement

  7. Letternoun

    a single type; type, collectively; a style of type

  8. Letternoun

    learning; erudition; as, a man of letters

  9. Letternoun

    a letter; an epistle

  10. Letterverb

    to impress with letters; to mark with letters or words; as, a book gilt and lettered

  11. Etymology: [OE. lettre, F. lettre, OF. letre, fr. L. littera, litera, a letter; pl., an epistle, a writing, literature, fr. linere, litum, to besmear, to spread or rub over; because one of the earliest modes of writing was by graving the characters upon tablets smeared over or covered with wax. Pliny, xiii. 11. See Liniment, and cf. Literal.]


  1. Letter

    A letter is a written message containing information from one party to another. The role of letters in communication has changed significantly since the nineteenth century. Historically, letters were the only reliable means of communication between two people in different locations. As communication technology has diversified, posted letters have become less important as a routine form of communication. For example, the development of the telegraph shortened the time taken to send a letter by transferring the letter as an electrical signal between distant points. At the telegraph office closest to the destination of the letter, the signal was transferred back into a hardcopy format and sent as a normal mail to the person's home. This allowed the normal speed of communication to be drastically shortened for large distances. The facsimile machine took this one step further: an entire letter could be completely transferred electrically from the sender's house to the receiver's house by means of the telephone network as an image. Today, the internet by means of email plays a large part in written communications. Historically, letters exist from the time of ancient India, ancient Egypt and Sumer, through Rome, Greece and China, up to the present day. Letters make up several of the books of the Bible. Archives of correspondence, whether for personal, diplomatic, or business reasons, serve as primary sources for historians.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Letter

    let′ėr, n. a conventional mark to express a sound: a written or printed message: literal meaning: a printing-type: (pl.) learning, literary culture.—v.t. to stamp letters upon.—ns. Lett′er-bal′ance, a balance for testing the weight of a letter for post; Lett′er-board (print.), board on which matter in type is placed for keeping or convenience in handling; Lett′er-book, a book in which letters or copies of letters are kept; Lett′er-box, a box in a post-office, at the door of a house, &c., for receiving letters; Lett′er-carr′ier, a postman; Lett′er-case, a portable writing-desk.—adj. Lett′ered, marked with letters: educated: versed in literature: belonging to learning (Lettered proof and Proof before letters; see Proof).—ns. Lett′erer; Lett′er-found′er, one who founds or casts letters or types; Lett′ering, the act of impressing letters: the letters impressed.—adj. Lett′erless, illiterate.—ns. Lett′er-miss′ive, an official letter on matters of common interest, sent to members of a church: a letter from the sovereign addressed to a dean and chapter, naming the person they are to elect bishop—also Royal letter; Lett′ern (same as Lectern); Lett′er-of-cred′it, a letter authorising credit or cash to a certain sum to be paid to the bearer; Lett′er-of-marque (märk), a commission given to a private ship by a government to make reprisals on the vessels of another state.—adj. Lett′er-per′fect, kept in the memory exactly (of an actor's part, &c.).—ns. Lett′erpress, letters impressed or matter printed from type, as distinguished from engraving: a copying-press; Lett′ers-pā′tent, a writing conferring a patent or authorising a person to enjoy some privilege, so called because written on open sheets of parchment; Lett′er-stamp, a post-office implement for defacing a postage-stamp: a stamp for imprinting dates, &c., on letters or papers; Lett′er-wood, the heart-wood of a tree found in British Guiana, dark brown, with darker spots somewhat resembling hieroglyphics; Lett′er-writ′er, one who writes letters, esp. for hire: a book containing forms for imitation in writing letters.—Letter of indication (see Circular); Letters of administration, a document issued by court appointing an administrator of an intestate estate; Letters requisitory, or rogatory, an instrument by which a court of one country asks that of another to take certain evidence on its behalf; Lettre de cachet (see Cachet). [Fr. lettre—L. littera.]

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Letter

    Work consisting of written or printed communication between individuals or between persons and representatives of corporate bodies. The correspondence may be personal or professional. In medical and other scientific publications the letter is usually from one or more authors to the editor of the journal or book publishing the item being commented upon or discussed. LETTER is often accompanied by COMMENT.

Editors Contribution

  1. letter

    A written or typed document.

    They sent a letter confirming the details of the agreement.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 4, 2020  

  2. letter

    Symbol with meaning.

    Letters form the part of many alphabets.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 31, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'letter' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #761

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'letter' in Written Corpus Frequency: #643

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'letter' in Nouns Frequency: #162

How to pronounce letter?

How to say letter in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of letter in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of letter in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of letter in a Sentence

  1. Carlos Obregon:

    I have enough cash, but I'll have to be careful so I don't run out. If I want to get some souvenirs for my family I will probably have to pay with card, and that's more expensive, if I use the credit card too much, when I receive the letter at the end of the month I'm going to punch the wall.

  2. The USPS:

    As inflation and increased operating expenses continue, these price adjustments will help with the implementation of the Delivering for America plan, with the new prices, Postal Service will continue to provide the lowest letter-mail postage rates in the industrialized world and offer a great value in shipping.

  3. Devin Nunes:

    There is a, there’s a debate now into whether just send it to the Supreme Court or to send it to the FISA Court, if, somehow, this case ends up at the Supreme Court, somehow, some way, by sending a letter to Roberts, do you conflict the court?

  4. Michael Gove:

    We are going to leave by October 31, we have the means and the ability to do so, that letter was sent because parliament required it to be sent (..) but parliament can't change the prime minister's mind, parliament can't change the government's policy or determination.

  5. Robert Armstrong:

    It a letter contains a misleading impression, not a lie. It was being economical with the truth.

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Translations for letter

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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    a state of irritation or annoyance
    • A. caddie
    • B. fluster
    • C. huff
    • D. aberrate

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