One of the arbitrary marks or characters constituting the alphabet, and used in written language as the representatives of sounds or articulations of the human organs of speech. A dispatch or epistle; a written or printed message; a communication in writing from one person to another at a distance. In the imperial law of Rome, "letter" or "epistle" was the name of the answer returned by the emperor to a question of law submitted to him by the magistrates. A communication inclosed, sealed, stamped, carried and delivered by private or U.S. Postal service. Hyney v. U. S., C.C.A.Mich., 44 F.2d 134, 136; Wolpa v. U. S., C.C.A.Neb., 86 F.2d 35, 39.
A commission, patent, or written instrument containing or attesting the grant of some power, authority, or right.
The word appears in this generic sense in many compound phrases known to commercial law and jurisprudence; e.g., letter of attorney, letter missive, letter of credit, letters patent.
The plural is frequently used. Metaphorically, the verbal expression; the strict literal meaning. The letter of a statute, as distinguished from its spirit, means the strict and exact force of the language employed, as distinguished from the general purpose and policy of the law.
- letters of advice
- letters of attorney
- letters of credit
- letters of recommendation, see those titles.

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Letter — and similar can mean: *Letter (alphabet), a grapheme, part of an alphabet, abjad, abugida, or syllabary *Letter (message), correspondence, a written message *Letter (paper size), the letter size paper * Letters can also mean literature, as in… …   Wikipedia

  • Letter — Let ter, n. [From {Let} to hinder.] One who retards or hinders. [Archaic.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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

  • 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] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Letter of 59 — The Letter of 59 (also known as the Memorial or Memorandum of 59) was an open letter signed by 66 (or 59 at first, hence the name) Polish intellectuals who protested against the changes of the Constitution of the People s Republic of Poland that… …   Wikipedia

  • Letter to Me — Infobox Single Name = Letter to Me Artist = Brad Paisley Album = 5th Gear A side = B side = Released = October 2007 Format = CD single Recorded = 2007 Genre = Country Length = 4:41 Label = Arista Nashville Writer = Brad Paisley Producer = Frank… …   Wikipedia

  • Letter — (рус. «леттер» письмо) является форматом бумаги, который обычно используется в США, Канаде, Мексике и некоторых др …   Википедия

  • Letter — Druckletter (Schema) Details Abmessungen 1. Punze 2. Schriftbild 3. Fleisch 4. Konus 5. Achselfläche 6. Kegel 7. Signatur 8. Gießrille a Kopf b Schulterhöhe a+b Schrifthöhe c Dickte d Kegelstärke/ Kegelhöhe L …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • letter — letter1 letterer, n. letterless, adj. /let euhr/, n. 1. a written or printed communication addressed to a person or organization and usually transmitted by mail. 2. a symbol or character that is conventionally used in writing and printing to… …   Universalium

  • letter — I. noun Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo French lettre, from Latin littera letter of the alphabet, litterae, plural, epistle, literature Date: 13th century 1. a symbol usually written or printed representing a speech sound and constituting a …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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