Missive and Letter



What is the difference between Missive and Letter?

By Ram, India - 27 Jan 2008


First, let’s deal with the pronunciation. The first syllable of miss is pronounced like the word miss while the second sounds like the ive in massive and passive. The stress is on the first syllable.

A missive is a longish letter, often official, sent by someone. It is usually sealed and contains private information. The word is considered rather old fashioned. And it is mostly in literary contexts. In informal contexts, it is used humorously.

• After the meeting, the ambassador sat down and wrote a five page missive to the president.

The word missive comes from the lathin missus meaning to send. Missives are usually sent to individuals.

Letter on the other hand is a general term and it can be sent to individuals, companies, organizations, etc. It may deal with business or private matters.



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