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Wordnet 3.0

NOUN (5)

1. a written message addressed to a person or organization;
- Example: "mailed an indignant letter to the editor"
[syn: letter, missive]

2. the conventional characters of the alphabet used to represent speech;
- Example: "his grandmother taught him his letters"
[syn: letter, letter of the alphabet, alphabetic character]

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

4. a strictly literal interpretation (as distinct from the intention);
- Example: "he followed instructions to the letter"
- Example: "he obeyed the letter of the law"

5. an award earned by participation in a school sport;
- Example: "he won letters in three sports"
[syn: letter, varsity letter]


VERB (3)

1. win an athletic letter;

2. set down or print with letters;

3. mark letters on or mark with letters;


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Letter \Let"ter\ (l[e^]t"t[~e]r), n. [From Let to permit.] One who lets or permits; one who lets anything for hire. [1913 Webster]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Letter \Let"ter\, n. [From Let to hinder.] One who retards or hinders. [Archaic.] [1913 Webster]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Letter \Let"ter\, n. [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. 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. [1913 Webster] And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew. --Luke xxiii. 38. [1913 Webster] 2. A written or printed communication; a message expressed in intelligible characters on something adapted to conveyance, as paper, parchment, etc.; an epistle. [1913 Webster] The style of letters ought to be free, easy, and natural. --Walsh. [1913 Webster] 3. A writing; an inscription. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] None could expound what this letter meant. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 4. Verbal expression; literal statement or meaning; exact signification or requirement. [1913 Webster] We must observe the letter of the law, without doing violence to the reason of the law and the intention of the lawgiver. --Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster] I broke the letter of it to keep the sense. --Tennyson. [1913 Webster] 5. (Print.) A single type; type, collectively; a style of type. [1913 Webster] Under these buildings . . . was the king's printing house, and that famous letter so much esteemed. --Evelyn. [1913 Webster] 6. pl. Learning; erudition; as, a man of letters. [1913 Webster] 7. pl. A letter; an epistle. [Obs.] --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 8. (Teleg.) A telegram longer than an ordinary message sent at rates lower than the standard message rate in consideration of its being sent and delivered subject to priority in service of regular messages. Such telegrams are called by the Western Union Company day letters, or night letters according to the time of sending, and by The Postal Telegraph Company day lettergrams, or night lettergrams. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] Dead letter, Drop letter, etc. See under Dead, Drop, etc. Letter book, a book in which copies of letters are kept. Letter box, a box for the reception of letters to be mailed or delivered. Letter carrier, a person who carries letters; a postman; specif., an officer of the post office who carries letters to the persons to whom they are addressed, and collects letters to be mailed. Letter cutter, one who engraves letters or letter punches. Letter lock, a lock that can not be opened when fastened, unless certain movable lettered rings or disks forming a part of it are in such a position (indicated by a particular combination of the letters) as to permit the bolt to be withdrawn. [1913 Webster] A strange lock that opens with AMEN. --Beau. & Fl. Letter paper, paper for writing letters on; especially, a size of paper intermediate between note paper and foolscap. See Paper. Letter punch, a steel punch with a letter engraved on the end, used in making the matrices for type. Letters of administration (Law), the instrument by which an administrator or administratrix is authorized to administer the goods and estate of a deceased person. Letter of attorney, Letter of credit, etc. See under Attorney, Credit, etc. Letter of license, a paper by which creditors extend a debtor's time for paying his debts. Letters close or Letters clause (Eng. Law.), letters or writs directed to particular persons for particular purposes, and hence closed or sealed on the outside; -- distinguished from letters patent. --Burrill. Letters of orders (Eccl.), a document duly signed and sealed, by which a bishop makes it known that he has regularly ordained a certain person as priest, deacon, etc. Letters patent, Letters overt, or Letters open (Eng. Law), a writing executed and sealed, by which power and authority are granted to a person to do some act, or enjoy some right; as, letters patent under the seal of England. The common commercial patent is a derivative form of such a right. Letter-sheet envelope, a stamped sheet of letter paper issued by the government, prepared to be folded and sealed for transmission by mail without an envelope. Letters testamentary (Law), an instrument granted by the proper officer to an executor after probate of a will, authorizing him to act as executor. Letter writer. (a) One who writes letters. (b) A machine for copying letters. (c) A book giving directions and forms for the writing of letters. [1913 Webster]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Letter \Let"ter\ (l[e^]t"t[~e]r), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Lettered (-t[~e]rd); p. pr. & vb. n. Lettering.] To impress with letters; to mark with letters or words; as, a book gilt and lettered. [1913 Webster] letter bomb
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Attorney \At*tor"ney\, n.; pl. Attorneys. [OE. aturneye, OF. atorn['e], p. p. of atorner: cf. LL. atturnatus, attornatus, fr. attornare. See Attorn.] 1. A substitute; a proxy; an agent. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] And will have no attorney but myself. --Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. (Law) (a) One who is legally appointed by another to transact any business for him; an attorney in fact. (b) A legal agent qualified to act for suitors and defendants in legal proceedings; an attorney at law. [1913 Webster] Note: An attorney is either public or private. A private attorney, or an attorney in fact, is a person appointed by another, by a letter or power of attorney, to transact any business for him out of court; but in a more extended sense, this class includes any agent employed in any business, or to do any act in pais, for another. A public attorney, or attorney at law, is a practitioner in a court of law, legally qualified to prosecute and defend actions in such court, on the retainer of clients. --Bouvier. -- The attorney at law answers to the procurator of the civilians, to the solicitor in chancery, and to the proctor in the ecclesiastical and admiralty courts, and all of these are comprehended under the more general term lawyer. In Great Britain and in some states of the United States, attorneys are distinguished from counselors in that the business of the former is to carry on the practical and formal parts of the suit. In many states of the United States however, no such distinction exists. In England, since 1873, attorneys at law are by statute called solicitors. [1913 Webster] A power, letter, or warrant, of attorney, a written authority from one person empowering another to transact business for him. [1913 Webster]
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):

letter n 1: a written message addressed to a person or organization; "mailed an indignant letter to the editor" [syn: letter, missive] 2: the conventional characters of the alphabet used to represent speech; "his grandmother taught him his letters" [syn: letter, letter of the alphabet, alphabetic character] 3: owner who lets another person use something (housing usually) for hire 4: a strictly literal interpretation (as distinct from the intention); "he followed instructions to the letter"; "he obeyed the letter of the law" 5: an award earned by participation in a school sport; "he won letters in three sports" [syn: letter, varsity letter] v 1: win an athletic letter 2: set down or print with letters 3: mark letters on or mark with letters
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:

230 Moby Thesaurus words for "letter": PP, RD, RFD, accurately, acknowledgment, advice, airmail, alphabet, alphabetize, answer, art, article, ascender, autograph, back, bastard type, beard, belles-lettres, belly, bevel, billet, black letter, blueprint, body, book post, brainchild, business letter, cap, capital, capitalize, case, character, charactering, characterization, chart, chit, choreography, communication, communique, composition, computer printout, conventional representation, copy, correspondence, counter, culture, dance notation, delineation, demonstration, depiction, depictment, descender, diagram, direct mail, direct-mail selling, dispatch, document, draft, drama, drawing, edited version, em, embassy, en, engrossment, epistle, erudition, essay, exactly, exemplification, express, face, fair copy, fat-faced type, favor, feet, fiction, figuration, final draft, finished version, first draft, flimsy, font, fourth-class mail, frank, groove, halfpenny post, hieroglyphic, holograph, iconography, ideogram, illustration, imagery, imaging, initial, inscribe, italic, junk mail, learning, letter post, letters, ligature, limning, line, literae scriptae, literally, literary artefact, literary production, literatim, literature, logogram, logograph, logotype, lower case, lucubration, mail, mail-order selling, mailing list, majuscule, manuscript, map, mark, matter, memorandum, message, minuscule, missive, musical notation, newspaper post, nick, nonfiction, notation, note, opus, original, paper, parcel post, parchment, penscript, pi, pica, pictogram, picturization, piece, piece of writing, plan, play, pneumatogram, poem, point, portraiture, portrayal, post, post day, precisely, prefigurement, presentment, print, printed matter, printing, printout, production, projection, reading matter, realization, recension, registered mail, release, rendering, rendition, reply, report, representation, rescript, roman, rural delivery, rural free delivery, sans serif, schema, scholarship, score, screed, scrip, script, scrive, scroll, sea mail, seapost, second draft, shank, shoulder, sic, sign, small cap, small capital, special delivery, special handling, spell out, stamp, stem, strictly, surface mail, syllabary, symbol, tablature, telegram, the written word, thus, to the letter, transcribe, transcript, transcription, transliterate, type, type body, type class, type lice, typecase, typeface, typefounders, typefoundry, typescript, upper case, verbatim, version, word, word for word, work, write, writing
Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary:

Letter in Rom. 2:27, 29 means the outward form. The "oldness of the letter" (7:6) is a phrase which denotes the old way of literal outward obedience to the law as a system of mere external rules of conduct. In 2 Cor. 3:6, "the letter" means the Mosaic law as a written law. (See WRITING.)
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):

LETTER, com. law, Crim. law. An epistle; a despatch; a written message, usually on paper, which is folded up and sealed, sent by one person to another. 2. A letter is always presumed to be sealed, unless the presumption be rebutted. 1 Caines, R. 682. 1 3. This subject will be considered by 1st. Taking a view of the law relating to the transmission of letters through the post office; and, 2. The effect of letters in making contracts. 3. The ownership of letters sent and received. 4.-1. Letters are, commonly sent through the post office, and the law has carefully provided for their conveyance through the country, and their delivery to the persons to whom they are addressed. The act to reduce into one the several acts establishing and regulating the post office department, section 21, 3 Story's Laws United States, 1991, enacts, that if any person employed in any of the departments of the post office establishment, shall unlawfully detain, delay, or open, any letter, packet, bag, or mail of letters, with which he shall be entrusted, or which shall have come to his possession, and which are intended to be conveyed by post or, if any such person shall secrete, embezzle, or destroy, any letter or packet entrusted to such person as aforesaid, and which shall not contain any security for, or assurance relating to money, as hereinafter described, every such offender, being thereof duly convicted, shall, for every such offence, be fined, not exceeding three hundred dollars, or imprisoned, not exceeding six months, or both, according to the circumstances and aggravations of the offence. And if any person, employed as aforesaid, shall secrete, embezzle, or destroy any letter, packet, bag, or mail of letters, with which he or she shall be entrusted, or which shall have come to his or her possession, and are intended to be conveyed by post, containing any bank notes, or bank post bill, bill of exchange, warrant of the treasury of the United States, note of assignment of stock in the funds, letters of attorney for receiving annuities or dividends, or for, selling stock in the funds, or for receiving the interest thereof, or any letter of credit, or note for, or relating to, payment of moneys or any bond, or warrant, draft, bill, or promissory note, covenant, contract, or agreement whatsoever, for, or relating to, the payment of money, or the delivery of any article of value, or the performance of any act, matter, or thing, or any receipt, release, acquittance, or discharge of, or from, any debt; covenant, or demand, or any part thereof, or any copy of any record of any judgment or decree, in any court of law or chancery, or any execution which way may have issued thereon; or any copy of any other record, or any other article of value, or any writing representing the same or if any such person, employed as aforesaid, shall steal, or take, any of the same out of any letter, packet, bag, or mail of letters, that shall come to his or her possession, such person shall, on conviction for any such offence, be imprisoned not less than ten years, nor exceeding twenty-one years; and if any person who shall have taken charge of the mails of the United States, shall quit or desert the same before such person delivers it into the post office kept at the termination of the route, or some known mail carrier, or agent of the general post office, authorized to receive the same, every such person, so offending, shall forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, for every such offence; and if any person concerned in carrying the mail of the United States, shall collect, receive, or carry any letter, or packet, or shall cause or procure the same to be done, contrary, to this act, every such offender shall forfeit and pay for every such offence a sum, not exceeding fifty dollars. 5.-2. Most contracts may be formed by correspondence; and cases not unfrequently arise where it is difficult to say whether the concurrence of the will of the contracting parties took place or not. In order to form a contract both parties must concur at the same time, or there is no agreement. Suppose, for example, that Paul of Philadelphia, is desirous of purchasing a thousand bales of cotton, and offers by letter to Peter of New Orleans, to buy them from him at a certain price; but on the next day he changes his mind, and then he writes to Peter that he withdraws his offer; or on the next day he dies; in either case, there is no contract, because Paul did not continue in the same disposition to buy the cotton, at the time that his offer was accepted. The precise moment when the consent of both parties is perfect, is, in strictness, when the person who made the offer becomes acquainted with the fact that it has been accepted. But this may be presumed from circumstances. The acceptance must be of the same precise terms without any variance whatever. 4 Wheat. 225; see 1 Pick. 278; 10 Pick. 326; 6 Wend. 103. 6.-3. A letter received by the person to whom it is directed, is the qualified property of such person: but where it is of a private nature, the receiver has no right to publish it without the consent of the writer, unless under very extraordinary circumstances; as, for example, when it is requisite to the defence of the character of the party who received it. 2 Ves. & B. 19; 2 Atk. 542; Amb. 737; 1 Ball. & B. 207; 1 Mart. (Lo.) R. 297; Denisart, verbo Lettres Missives. Vide Dead Letter; Jeopardy; Mail; Newspaper; Postage; Post Master General.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):

LETTER, contracts. In the civil law, locator, and in the French law, locateur, loueur, or bailleur, is he who, being the owner of a thing, lets it out to another for hire or compensation. See Hire; Locator; Conductor; Story on Bailm. Sec. 369. 2. According to the French and civil law, in virtue of the contract, the letter of a thing to hire impliedly engages that the hirer shall have the full use and enjoyment of the thing hired, and that he will fulfill his own engagements and trusts in respect to it, according to the original intention of the parties. This implies an obligation to deliver the thing to the hirer; to refrain from every obstruction to the use of it by the hirer during the period of the bailment; to do no act which shall deprive the hirer of the thing; to warrant the title and possession to the hirer, to enable him to use the thing or to perform the service; to keep the thing in suitable order and repair for the purpose of the bailment; and finally to warrant the thing from from any fault inconsistent with the use of it. These are the main obligations deduced from the nature of the contract, and they seem generally founded on unexceptionable reasoning. Pothier, Louage, n. 53; Id. n. 217; Domat, B. 1, tit. 4, Sec. 3 Code Civ. of L. tit. 9, c. 2, s. 2. It is difficult to say how far (reasonable as they are in a general sense) these obligations are recognized in the common law. In some respects the common law certainly differs. See Repairs; Dougl. 744, 748; 1 Saund. 321, 32e, and ibid. note 7; 4 T. R. 318; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 980 et seq.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):

LETTER, civil law. The answer which the prince gave to questions of law which had been submitted to him by magistrates, was called letters or epistles. See Rescripts.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):

LETTER missive, Engl. law. After a bill has been filed against a peer or peeress, or lord of parliament, a petition is presented to the lord chancellor for his letter, called a letter missive, which requests the defendant to appear and answer to the bill. A neglect to attend to this, places the defendant, in relation to such suit, on the same ground as other defendants, who are not peers, and a subpoena may then issue. Newl. Pr. 9; 2 Madd. Ch. Pr. 196; Coop. Eq. Pl. 16.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):

LETTER of RECALL. A written document addressed by the executive of one government to the executive of another, informing the latter that a minister sent by the former to him, has been recalled.