Etymology
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red-letter (adj.)

"having a rubricated letter; written or drawn in red ink," late 14c., from red (adj.1) + letter (n.). A red-letter day (late 14c.) originally was a saint's day, marked on church calendars in red letters. 

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capital letter (n.)

late 14c.; see capital (adj.). So called because it is at the "head" of a sentence or word.

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letter-opener (n.)

1864 as a device to slit open letter envelopes, from letter (n.1) + opener. Earlier as a government or other official on continental Europe in charge of opening and reading private mails of suspected persons and censoring them (1847).

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letter-press (adj.)

in reference to matter printed from relief surfaces, 1840, from letter (n.1) "a type character" + press (n.). Earlier "text," as opposed to copper-plate illustration (1771).

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f-hole (n.)

"one of the two openings in the upper plate of the body of a violin," so called from resemblance to the italic letter f.

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decapitalize (v.)

"reduce from the rank or position of a capital city," 1870; see de- + capital (n.1) + -ize. As "to remove the financial capital from," by 1913, from capital (n.2). In reference to letters, "to change from upper case to lower case," by 1899. Related: Decapitalized; decapitalization.

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palatal (adj.)

1728, of sounds, "uttered by the aid of the palate," from palate + -al (1). By 1786 as "of or pertaining to the roof of the mouth." As a noun, "a sound or letter usually produced by the upper surface of the tongue against a part of the palate," by 1762.

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brief (n.)

early 14c., bref, "a writing issued by authority," from Latin breve (genitive brevis), noun derivative of adjective brevis "short, little" (from PIE root *mregh-u- "short") which came to mean "letter, summary," specifically a letter of the pope (less ample and solemn than a bull), and thus came to mean "letter of authority," which yielded the modern, legal sense of "systematic summary of the facts of a case" (1630s). The sense of "a short or concise writing" is from 1560s. In German, Brief has become the general word for "an epistle or letter."

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