Definition of missive in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmɪsɪv/


1often humorous A letter, especially a long or official one: yet another missive from the Foreign Office
More example sentences
  • As it is, he constantly whisks electronic missives to staff and customers - his email address is made public - singing praises and responding to problems.
  • I haven't been hit with unsolicited electronic missives during the couple of weeks I've been testing the service.
  • Quite honestly, I had forgotten about the electronic missive, but I searched through my archives to find a copy.
message, communication, letter, word, note, memorandum, line, report, bulletin, communiqué, dispatch, intelligence, piece of information, news, notification, announcement, greeting, epistle
informal memo
literary tidings
1.1 Scots Law A document in the form of a letter exchanged by the parties to a contract. See also conclude missives at conclude.
Example sentences
  • 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.

  • mass from Old English:

    There is no relation at all between late Middle English mass ‘a large body with no definite shape’ and Old English Mass ‘the celebration of the Christian Eucharist’. The first goes back to Greek maza ‘barley cake’. The other derives ultimately from Latin mittere ‘to dismiss, send’, and so is connected with message, missive (Late Middle English), and amass (Late Middle English), as well as with words such as permit. The use for the religious service may come from its last words in Latin, Ite, missa est ‘Go, it is the dismissal’. Ordinary people have been called the masses since at least 1837, and they have been supplied with goods by mass production since 1893.

Words that rhyme with missive

omissive, permissive, submissive

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mis|sive

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