Definition of poison pen letter in US English:

poison pen letter

noun

  • A letter, typically anonymous, that is libelous, abusive, or malicious.

    • ‘Police have traced the author of a poison pen letter which embroiled a private school in computer porn allegations - but have decided not to prosecute.’
    • ‘The arsenal of FBI dirty tactics included non-court authorized wiretaps, undercover plants, agent provocateurs, poison pen letters, black bag jobs, and the compiling of secret dossiers.’
    • ‘It follows revelations that Mr Ridsdale had been targeted with a series of poison pen letters threatening himself and his family.’
    • ‘The idea that the great principle of protecting journalistic sources was not designed to apply to the political equivalent of a poison pen letter never seems to occur to them.’
    • ‘He is invited to investigate a poison pen letter, hardly the kind of thing that the famous Belgian sleuth should be wasting his talents upon, but he's hanging around the village, wrapping up another case, and needs a playful distraction.’
    • ‘What you've in fact seen is a man who writes poison pen letters, pushes his father down the stairs, sticks a ruler in his mouth, and eventually murders him.’
    • ‘Well, he's gonna have enough to do, I've got the YTS trainees in the Public Relations office to send out poison pen letters to everyone!’
    • ‘FBI agents compiled secret dossiers, illegally wiretapped, used undercover plants and agent provocateurs, sent poison pen letters and staged black bag jobs against black activists and anti-war groups.’
    • ‘The odds of being shot dead by a ruminant must be on a par with being killed by a real poison pen letter.’
    • ‘One of her hospital colleagues sent poison pen letters to one of her supporters, and the university authorities in Toronto threatened to sack her, until David Weatherall and David Nathan intervened.’
    • ‘I had poison pen letters, and it was affecting my family.’
    • ‘The poison pen letters were revealed by Hillam News editor Geoff Hall, who said he had decided to publicise them in the village newsletter to reassure recipients they were not alone.’
    • ‘Mr Daly claimed he and his family have been subjected to a litany of abuse which has included poison pen letters, abusive phone calls and harassment at their isolated farmhouse at Dooneen, seven miles from Killarney.’
    • ‘It's normally not my practice to respond to anonymous poison pen letters.’
    • ‘A ‘despicable and sick’ person is circulating poison pen letters in a North Yorkshire village.’
    • ‘The sort of cowards who send anonymous poison pen letters thrive on imagining they speak for the ‘silent majority’.’
    • ‘Doesn't this make blogging the modern day equivalent of poison pen letters?’

Pronunciation

poison pen letter

/ˈpoizn pen ˈledər/