Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select
FindLaw Legal Dictionary

The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.



letter n

1 : a direct written statement addressed to an individual or organization
: an official communication see also counterletter

determination letter
: a letter from an administrative agency (as the Internal Revenue Service) usually in response to a request in which a determination, decision, or ruling (as whether an organization qualifies as charitable) is made

information letter
: a letter from an administrative agency usually in response to a request that provides information and esp. that simply calls attention to an interpretation or principle of law

letter of intent
: a letter in which the intention to enter into a formal agreement (as a contract) or to take some specified action is stated

letter ro·ga·to·ry
[probably partial translation of Medieval Latin littera rogatoria letter of request]
: a formal written request by a court to a court in a foreign jurisdiction to summon and examine a witness in accordance with that jurisdiction's procedures (as oral interrogatories) usually used in pl.

90-day letter
: a letter from the Internal Revenue Service notifying a taxpayer of a determination of a deficiency NOTE: A taxpayer has 90 days from the date of the mailing of the 90-day letter to petition for a redetermination of the deficiency in the U.S. Tax Court.

no-action letter
: a letter from an attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission recommending that the Commission take no prosecutorial action with regard to a suspected and investigated violation of SEC rules or regulations

opinion letter
: a letter in which an opinion (as of a court or attorney) is given

ruling letter
: determination letter in this entry

30-day letter
: a letter from the Internal Revenue Service to a taxpayer who has been audited and disputes the auditor's determination that sets out the taxpayer's right to appeal NOTE: A taxpayer has 30 days from the time of the mailing of the 30-day letter to respond.
2 : a written communication usually from a court containing a grant (as of a right) or an appointment usually used in pl. [s of guardianship]

letter of attorney
: power of attorney

letter of marque
[-mÄ rk]
[Anglo-French mark, marque right of retaliation, from Middle French marque, from Old ProvenÇal marca, from marcar to mark, seize as pledge]
: a letter from a government formerly used to grant a private person the power to seize the subjects of a foreign state
: authority granted to a private person to fit out an armed ship to plunder the enemy usually used in pl. often used in the phrase letters of marque and reprisal [the Congress shall have power…to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water "U.S. Constitution art. I"]

letters of administration
: a letter from a probate court that appoints the addressee administrator of an estate

letters patent
: a letter (as from a government) that grants a designated person a right (as to property) and that is in a form open for public inspection
: patent

letters testamentary
: a letter from a probate court that appoints or confirms the addressee as executor of an estate
3 : letter of credit

Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options