let-ter / ˈledər
1. a symbol, either written or printed, which represents a speech sound and is a unit of an alphabet
It takes one letter to say ‘I’ and four letters to say ‘love’ and three letters to say ‘you.’
Fred Rogers, 1928-2003
2. a written or printed message addressed and sent to someone
The word that is heard perishes, but the letter that is written remains.
3. plural, literature
A man of letters, merely by reading a phrase, can estimate exactly the literary merit of its author.
from ‘Swann’s Way’ by Marcel Proust, 1871-1922
4. actual wording; literal meaning
Only a fool permits the letter of the law to override the spirit in the heart.
Rod Stewart, 1945-
5. sometimes plural, an emblem containing the initial of a school or organization which is given to a student or member for some achievement
It mattered to me that I do well, that I impress people with the empty signs of my ambition: good grades, varsity letters, awards for whatever it was they were judging us on that week.
from ‘The Locked Room’ by Paul Auster, 1947-
1. to inscribe or mark with symbols from the alphabet
When I am grown up I shall carry a notebook – a fat book with many pages, methodically lettered.
Virginia Woolf, 1882-1941