Definition of letters patent in English:

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letters patent

plural noun

An open document issued by a monarch or government conferring a patent or other right.
Example sentences
  • Such concessions could take the form of specific monopolies over trade in specific items (such as dice or playing cards) by petitioning the monarch and having letters patent from that monarch issued in your name.
  • Its clauses and terms peppered the letters patent with which English monarchs empowered their colonial agents.
  • The great seal is used for proclamations, writs, letters patent, and treaties.


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin litterae patentes, literally 'letters lying open'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: let|ters pa¦tent

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