Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “dead letter”

dead letter

noun uk   us  

dead letter noun (MAIL)

[C] a letter that cannot be delivered to the address written on it and cannot be returned to the person who sent it: the dead-letter office

dead letter noun (LAW/AGREEMENT)

[C usually singular] a law or agreement that is no longer effective: The ceasefire treaty was a dead letter as soon as it was signed, as neither side ever had any intention of keeping to it.
(Definition of dead letter from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of dead letter?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Rules & laws, but you might be interested in these topics from the Law and the police topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Translations of “dead letter”

Word of the Day

mutant

an organism that is different from others of its type because of a permanent change in its genes

Word of the Day

What’s that lovely smell?

by Kate Woodford,
October 29, 2014
As adult humans, we can distinguish about 10,000 different smells. It’s no wonder, then, that we have so many words and expressions to describe them. This week we’re taking a look at those smell words – words that describe good smells and words that describe bad smells. Most smell words are either

Read More 

high-frequency trading noun

October 27, 2014
a type of stock market trading that uses very complex technology to trade extremely quickly, often making tiny profits which nevertheless add up to substantial sums Lewis’s book, Flash Boys, is driving a huge amount of attention toward the topic of high frequency trading, and it has rekindled some of

Read More