Definition of missive in English:



  • 1A letter, especially a long or official one.

    ‘yet another missive from the Foreign Office’
    • ‘He began to go through the drawers, letter slots, pulling out and examining notes and missives.’
    • ‘However, while this forum is almost certainly the only one in the country prepared to indulge readers' missives on the topic, it is also demonstrably the least (if at all) legitimate target.’
    • ‘I haven't been hit with unsolicited electronic missives during the couple of weeks I've been testing the service.’
    • ‘Soon after his installation in Chicago, George was dubbed ‘Francis the Corrector’ for missives he sent to pastors on various liturgical issues.’
    • ‘This was in the days before the internet and I, as a young cub reporter, had to send my missives from the front line back to the Telegraph by carrier pigeon.’
    • ‘Susan Peters, I'm given to understand that some of his missives, his letters, are rather personal.’
    • ‘There were also a surprising number of missives about the value of local credit unions (indeed, adding them together, credit unions were also tied in second place).’
    • ‘Firstly, you wouldn't think a member of this group could misspell ‘Christian,’ but sure enough, one of the missives had the word as ‘Christain’ three times.’
    • ‘Quickly dubbed ‘the French letter,’ the missive became an object of derision and only heightened contempt for French actions.’
    • ‘These missives all went directly to McCrann's personal email.’
    • ‘As it is, he constantly whisks electronic missives to staff and customers - his email address is made public - singing praises and responding to problems.’
    • ‘Unlike the first letter way back in November, these later missives brought a response.’
    • ‘I noted that all such missives contained the same message - don't draw attention to Red Sea diving or you'll get it a bad name.’
    • ‘Quite honestly, I had forgotten about the electronic missive, but I searched through my archives to find a copy.’
    • ‘While we were checking, we got a missive direct from Net Authority Investigations noting the following.’
    • ‘Crikey, your recent twitterings have made me realise that I omitted a word from my last missive, which you were apparently so taken by.’
    • ‘The Herald's letters page erupted with angry missives from teachers and parents.’
    • ‘Space, he said, was the reason given when he called the paper to complain - although he remains convinced that his incorrect perspective on world affairs is the real explanation his missives were consigned to the rubbish bin.’
    • ‘As a tactic, this may be appropriate for missives directed at MPs, which was the last campaign sponsored by the group of private-sector organisations.’
    • ‘As she ended her words to the counsel, she handed over both the missive and the threatening note to a page who delivered it to Captain Allende.’
    message, communication, letter, word, note, memorandum, line, report, bulletin, communiqué, dispatch, intelligence, piece of information, news, notification, announcement, greeting, epistle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Scots Law A document in the form of a letter exchanged by the parties to a contract.
      See also conclude missives at conclude
      • ‘The real problem is the failure to exchange formal contract letters, or missives, quickly enough.’
      • ‘It is increasingly common for missives to be in an unconcluded state until shortly before or even at the date of entry.’
      • ‘Many people do not consult a solicitor about the missives they are about to sign.’


Late Middle English (as an adjective, originally in the phrase letter missive): from medieval Latin missivus, from Latin mittere send. The current sense dates from the early 16th century.