Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A letter, especially a formal one. See Synonyms at letter.
  • n. A literary composition in the form of a letter.
  • n. Bible One of the letters included as a book in the New Testament.
  • n. Bible An excerpt from one of these letters, read as part of a religious service.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A letter, or a literary composition in the form of a letter.
  • n. One of the letters included as a book of the New Testament.
  • v. To write; to communicate in a letter or by writing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A writing directed or sent to a person or persons; a written communication; a letter; -- applied usually to formal, didactic, or elegant letters.
  • n. One of the letters in the New Testament which were addressed to their Christian brethren by Apostles.
  • transitive v. To write; to communicate in a letter or by writing.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A written communication directed or sent to a person at a distance; a letter; a letter missive: used particularly in dignified discourse or in speaking of ancient writings: as, the epistles of Paul, of Pliny, or of Cicero.
  • n. [capitalized] In liturgics, one of the eucharistic lessons, taken, with some exceptions, from an epistolary book of the New Testament and read before the gospel.
  • n. Any kind of harangue or discourse; a communication.
  • To write as a letter; communicate by writing or by an epistle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a book of the New Testament written in the form of a letter from an Apostle
  • n. a specially long, formal letter

Etymologies

Middle English epistel, from Old French epistle, from Latin epistola, from Greek epistolē, from epistellein, to send a message to : epi-, epi- + stellein, to send; see stel- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French epistre, from Latin epistola, from Ancient Greek ἐπιστολή (epistolē), from ἐπιστέλλω (epistellō, "I send a message"), from ἐπί (epi, "upon") + στέλλω (stellō, "I prepare, send"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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