letter let‧ter [ˈletə ǁ -ər] noun [countable]
1. a written or printed message that is usually put in an envelope and sent by mail:

• Please sign the letter and mail it back within two weeks.

alloˈcation ˌletter also alˈlotment ˌletter FINANCE
a letter telling someone how many shares they will receive when new shares are first made available; = LETTER OF ALLOCATION:

• Qualifying members will get their allocation letters by early April.

apˈpointment ˌletter HUMAN RESOURCES
a letter from an organization to someone to say that they have been given a job; = LETTER OF APPOINTMENT:

• The appointment letter should include the appointee's job title and salary amount.

ˈcomfort ˌletter
FINANCE a letter from a company to a bank in support of a subsidiary of the company that is asking for a loan; = LETTER OF COMFORT:

• A parent company will give, if not a formal guarantee, then a comfort letter relating to its subsidiary's indebtedness to banks and others.

ˌcovering ˈletter , ˈcover ˌletter
a letter that you send with another document or a package, explaining why it has been sent or giving extra information about it:

• Copies of the questionnaire and covering letter were sent to heads of department individually.

enˈgagement ˌletter HUMAN RESOURCES
a letter in which the conditions under which someone is employed are stated. In the US, an engagement letter is usually given to a contractor who has been employed to carry out a particular service or job; = LETTER OF ENGAGEMENT:

• The fee structure must be clearly set out in the engagement letter.

ˈform ˌletter
a standard letter that is sent to a number of people with just the name and address changed for each different person:

• We wrote to quite a large number of companies, but many sent back only form letters.

2. any of the signs in writing or printing that represent a speech sound:

• the letter `A'

3. do something to the letter to pay exact attention to the details of an agreement, rule, set of instructions etc:

• In order for the plan to work, you need to follow the instructions to the letter.

4. LAW the letter of the law the exact words of a law or agreement rather than the intended or general meaning:

• an administrator with a rigid adherence to the letter of the law

* * *

letter UK US /ˈletər/ noun [C]
COMMUNICATIONS a written message from one person to another, usually put in an envelope and sent by mail: by letter »

You will receive an acknowledgement by letter.

get/receive a letter (from sb) »

I got a letter from my lawyer this morning.

deliver/post/send a letter »

I sent a letter about the problem to HQ last week.

draft/write/sign a letter »

The letter was signed by the managing director.

reply to/acknowledge/answer a letter »

I wrote to the company but they did not even acknowledge my letter.

a confirmation/rejection/warning letter »

You will receive a confirmation letter within 10 working days.

an accompanying/a covering letter »

Please find enclosed my CV and a covering letter.

a formal/an informal letter »

He wrote a formal letter of resignation.


The letter was addressed to John Clarke.


a letter dated 3rd March 2010

any of the set of symbols used to write a language, representing a sound in the language: »

the letter D


an upper-case/lower-case letter (= A/a or B/b)

the letter of the law — Cf. the letter of the law
to the letter — Cf. to the letter
See also ALLOCATION LETTER(Cf. ↑allocation letter), APPLICATION LETTER(Cf. ↑application letter), APPOINTMENT LETTER(Cf. ↑appointment letter), BANK AUTHORIZATION LETTER(Cf. ↑bank authorization letter), COMMITMENT LETTER(Cf. ↑commitment letter), COVERING LETTER(Cf. ↑covering letter), COVER LETTER(Cf. ↑cover letter), CREDIT DISPUTE LETTER(Cf. ↑credit dispute letter), ENGAGEMENT LETTER(Cf. ↑engagement letter), FORM LETTER(Cf. ↑form letter), LETTER OF COMFORT(Cf. ↑letter of comfort), REGRET LETTER(Cf. ↑regret letter)
letter UK US /ˈletər/ adjective [before noun]
US LETTER-SIZE(Cf. ↑letter-size)

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • letter — let·ter n 1: a direct written statement addressed to an individual or organization; broadly: an official communication see also counterletter determination letter: a letter from an administrative agency (as the Internal Revenue Service) usu. in… …   Law dictionary

  • 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 — letter, epistle, missive, note, message, dispatch, report, memorandum are comparable when they mean a communication sent or transmitted as distinct from one conveyed directly from source to recipient (as by oral utterance). Letter is the ordinary …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • letter — letter1 [let′ər] n. [ME lettre < OFr < L littera, letter of the alphabet, (in pl.) a letter, epistle] 1. a written or printed symbol employed to represent a speech sound or sounds; character in an alphabet: in some languages, as English,… …   English World dictionary

  • letter — ► NOUN 1) a character representing one or more of the sounds used in speech; any of the symbols of an alphabet. 2) a written, typed, or printed communication, sent by post or messenger. 3) the precise terms of a statement or requirement. 4)… …   English terms dictionary

  • Letter — Sf erw. fach. (17. Jh.) Entlehnung. In Anlehnung an frz. lettre umgebildet aus älterem Litter, das in mittelhochdeutscher Zeit aus l. littera Buchstabe entlehnt ist (frz. lettre ist dessen lautgerechter Nachfolger). Die Herkunft des lateinischen… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • letter — [n1] symbol of an alphabet ABCs*, alphabet, cap, capital, character, majuscule, minuscule, rune, sign, small letter, type, uncial; concept 284 Ant. number letter [n2] written communication acknowledgment, answer, billet, dispatch, epistle, junk… …   New thesaurus

  • letter — According to the Private Express Statutes, a message directed to a specific person or an address and recorded in or on a tangible object. Also a shortened way to refer to letter size mail …   Glossary of postal terms

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

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