dead letter


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Related to dead letter: Dead letter mail

dead letter

n.
1. An unclaimed or undelivered letter that after a period of time is destroyed or returned to the sender by the postal service.
2. A law, rule, or precedent still formally in effect but no longer valid or enforced.

dead letter

n
1. (Communications & Information) a letter that cannot be delivered or returned because it lacks adequate directions
2. (Law) a law or ordinance that is no longer enforced but has not been formally repealed
3. informal anything considered no longer worthy of consideration

dead′ let′ter


n.
1. a letter that is not deliverable or returnable by the post office.
2. a law no longer enforced but not formally repealed.
[1570–80]
dead′-let′ter, adj.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.dead letter - the state of something that has outlived its relevance
state - the way something is with respect to its main attributes; "the current state of knowledge"; "his state of health"; "in a weak financial state"
2.dead letter - mail that can neither be delivered nor returned
letter, missive - a written message addressed to a person or organization; "mailed an indignant letter to the editor"
References in classic literature ?
Without the SUBSTANCE of this power, the whole Constitution would be a dead letter.
The Northwest Company were now in complete occupation of the Columbia River, and its chief tributary streams, holding the posts which he had established, and carrying on a trade throughout the neighboring region, in defiance of the prohibitory law of Congress, which, in effect, was a dead letter beyond the mountains.
Laws are a dead letter without courts to expound and define their true meaning and operation.
It has had a name to live in some dogmatic theology, but each man's innocence and his real liking of his neighbor have kept it a dead letter.
In the question how the trusts under that will are to be administered, the fortune left by the will is squandered away; the legatees under the will are reduced to such a miserable condition that they would be sufficiently punished if they had committed an enormous crime in having money left them, and the will itself is made a dead letter.
The POstables - Oliver (Eric Mabius), Norman (Geoff Gustafson), Shane (Kristin Booth) and Rita (Crystal Lowe) - at the Dead Letter Office end up finding the camera and developing its photos.
As it is then, so long as the law under scrutiny, in its present form, remains unfunded, it is unimplementable and likely to be reduced to a dead letter.
They left notes in dead letter boxes or exchanged coded messages about geese flying south for the winter.
The apex court had also pulled up the Centre on November 23 last year over the delay in appointment of Lokpal saying it should not allow the law to become a " dead letter.
IT'S barely been 20 years since homosexuality was considered a crime in Cyprus and though the legislation was effectively a dead letter law, the stigma it conferred kept gay people from being open about who they were or being able to live their lives as equal members of society.
Perhaps we ought to consider just how important to us it is to contract out clergy as civil servants before we enter a painful wrangle over a canon that could be left a dead letter.
PARACHINAR -- Member of National Assembly (MNA) Sajjid Husain Tori has termed Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR) was a dead letter in modern age here on Monday.