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Letter may refer:

  • Letter (alphabet), a written element of an alphabet that represents a single phoneme
    • Letterform, typographic term for alphabetical letter shapes
  • Letter (message), a form of written communication; see also mail
  • Letters, the collected correspondence of a writer or historically significant person
    • Maktubat, the Arabic word for collected letters
    • Pauline epistles, addressed by St. Paul to various communities or congregations, such as "Letters to the Galatians" or "Letters to the Corinthians", and part of the canonical books of the Bible
  • The letter as a form of second-person literature; see Epistle
  • Letters, another word for literature, as in "arts and letters"
  • LETTERS (novel), by John Barth
  • Open letter, a public letter as distinguished from private correspondence
  • Letter to the editor, a letter sent to a newspaper, magazine, or online publication by one of its readers and meant to be published
  • Encyclical letter in the Catholic Church
  • Letter (paper size), paper conventionally sized for letter-writing
  • Varsity letter, an award given in the U.S. for interscholastic or intercollegiate merit in a sport or other activity such as band or choir.
  • Rehearsal letter in an orchestral score



See also


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary





Wikipedia has an article on:


letters (1)
a letter (2)
Most common English words: alone « body « point « #346: letter » become » became » second


Middle English letter, lettre from Old French lettre from Latin littera (letter of the alphabet"; in pl., "epistle) from Etruscan from Ancient Greek διφθερᾱ (diphtherā) "tablet". Displaced native Middle English bocstaf, bookstave "letter, alphabetic symbol" (from Old English bōcstæf "alphabetic symbol, written character"), Middle English bocrune, bocroune "letter, written character" (from Old English bōc "book" + rūn "letter, rune"), Middle English writrune, writroune "letter, document" (from Old English writ "letter, epistle" + rūn "letter, rune"), Old English ǣrendbōc "letter, message", Old English ǣrendġewrit "letter, written message".





letter (plural letters)

  1. A symbol in an alphabet.
    There are 26 letters in the English alphabet.
  2. A written message. See also note.
    I wrote a letter to my sister about my life.
  3. Literal meaning.
    "Some MEPs from some countries may have pocketed £2m more than I have by observing the letter but not the spirit of the rules." - [1]
  4. (US, uncountable) A size of paper, 8½ in × 11 in (215.9 mm × 279.4 mm, US paper sizes rounded to the nearest 5 mm)
  5. (Canadian, uncountable) A size of paper, 215 mm × 280 mm


Derived terms

Related terms



to letter

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to letter (third-person singular simple present letters, present participle lettering, simple past and past participle lettered)

  1. to print, inscribe, or paint letters on something.

External links

  • letter in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • letter in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911


Dutch Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia nl



letter f. (plural letters or letteren, diminutive lettertje, diminutive plural lettertjes)

  1. letter (letter of the alphabet)

Derived terms




  1. indefinite plural of lett

Simple English

The English Wiktionary has a dictionary definition (meanings of a word) for:

[[File:|thumb|A printed page showing different alphabets, fonts and sizes. This one is from 1728]]

A letter can be different things:

  • In some languages, for example English, we write a "letter" for all the sounds of the alphabet: when we write A, B, C, D etc, these are letters, or "letters of the alphabet".
Jenny has learned three letters of the alphabet at school.
Please write your name in big letters.
  • In the USA, "letters" are also letters of the alphabet which people put on sports clothes. They show that the person is in a school sports team.

There is a paper format called Letter or US Letter. It is mainly used in the United States (see Paper size). Most other countries use the DIN paper sizes. The most common DIN paper size is A4.

Letters of the alphabet

The Latin alphabet
Aa Bb Cc Dd
Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj
Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp
Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv
Ww Xx Yy Zz

In some languages, for example English, we write a "letter" for all the sounds of the alphabet: when we write A, B, C, D etc, these are letters, or "letters of the alphabet". Other languages do not use letters for writing: Chinese, for example, uses "ideograms".

In English and many other languages, the smallest part of writing is the letter. We use letters to make words. In some languages, for example Spanish, there is usually one letter for one sound (or better: for one phoneme, the smallest part of speech). This is easy to read. In other languages, for example English, we can use several letters for one sound, or one letter for several sounds. This is difficult for learners to read. Here are some examples:

Spanish: feliz has 5 letters and 5 sounds.
English: happy has 5 letters and 4 sounds.
In English we use the "a" in "happy" for three sounds:
a = /æ/ (pad) OR /ɑ/ (bar) OR /Ej/ (cake)
In Spanish we use the "a" for one sound:
a = /a/ (gato)

English, French, Spanish and many other languages use the Latin alphabet for writing. In this alphabet there are often two different letters for a sound. For example, "A" and "a". In other alphabets, for example the Cyrillic alphabet, there is only one letter for a sound. The letters are: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Latin alphabet: D d
Cyrillic alphabet: Д д

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