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English definition of “dead letter”

dead letter

noun [C usually singular] (LAW/AGREEMENT)   
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.Rules and laws
(Definition of dead letter noun (LAW/AGREEMENT) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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