(Le"the) n. [L., fr. Gr. lh`qh, prop., forgetfulness; akin to lanqa`nesqai to forget, lanqa`nein to
1. (Class. Myth.) A river of Hades whose waters when drunk caused forgetfulness of the past.
2. Oblivion; a draught of oblivion; forgetfulness.
(Le*the"an) a. [L. Lethaeus, Gr. lh`qaios or lhqai^os.] Of or pertaining to Lethe; resembling
in effect the water of Lethe. Milton. Barrow.
(Le"theed) a. Caused by Lethe. " Letheed dullness." [Obs.] Shak.
(Le"the*on) n. [NL., fr. Gr. lh`qh.] (Med.) Sulphuric ether used as an anæsthetic agent. [R.]
(Le"the*on*ize) v. t. To subject to the influence of letheon. [R. or Obs.]
(Le*thif"er*ous) a. [L. lethifer, letifer, fr. lethum, letum, death + ferre to bear, to bring: cf.
F. léthifère.] Deadly; bringing death or destruction.
(Le"thy) a. Lethean. [Obs.] Marston.
(Let"-off`) n. (Mach.) A device for letting off, releasing, or giving forth, as the warp from the
cylinder of a loom.
(Let"te) v. t. [imp. & p. p. Letted.] To let; to hinder. See Let, to hinder. [Obs.] Chaucer.
(Let"ter) n. [From Let to permit.] One who lets or permits; one who lets anything for hire.
(Let"ter), n. [From Let to hinder.] One who retards or hinders. [Archaic.]
(Let"ter), n. [OE. lettre, F. lettre, OF. letre, fr. L. littera, litera, a letter; pl., an epistle, a writing,
literature, fr. linere, litum, to besmear, to spread or rub over; because one of the earliest modes of
writing was by graving the characters upon tablets smeared over or covered with wax. Pliny, xiii. 11.
See Liniment, and cf. Literal.]
1. A mark or character used as the representative of a sound, or of an articulation of the human organs
of speech; a first element of written language.
And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew.Luke xxiii.
2. A written or printed communication; a message expressed in intelligible characters on something adapted
to conveyance, as paper, parchment, etc.; an epistle.
The style of letters ought to be free, easy, and natural.Walsh.
3. A writing; an inscription. [Obs.]
None could expound what this letter meant.Chaucer.
4. Verbal expression; literal statement or meaning; exact signification or requirement.
We must observe the letter of the law, without doing violence to the reason of the law and the intention
of the lawgiver.Jer. Taylor.
I broke the letter of it to keep the sense.Tennyson.