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[mis-iv] /ˈmɪs ɪv/
a written message; letter.
sent or about to be sent, especially of a letter from an official source.
Origin of missive
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English (letter) missive < Medieval Latin (littera) missīva sent (letter), equivalent to Latin miss(us) (past participle of mittere to send) + -īva, feminine of -īvus -ive Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for missive
  • As intriguing as what the cardinal's missive said was what it did not say.
  • After all, it is helpful to know to whom a missive is directed-and without a name, it could be for anyone.
  • Another missive lays out the alphabet soup of overlapping authorities.
  • Unfortunately for him, he doesn't learn the truth until after he sends the damning missive to where she lives.
  • Some users were so flabbergasted by the auction company's missive that they suspected it was actually a hoax hatched by crackers.
  • The postman stops his bike to slide the missive through the letterbox and the dog lets out two yaps.
  • The missive fails to offer pricing info for either the album as a whole or its individual songs.
  • Hunched over a spiral notebook, she wrote page after page, a missive to the beyond.
  • He had been pre- ceded by an airmail missive from his uncle.
  • Please pardon the last ranting sentence of my above missive.
British Dictionary definitions for missive


a formal or official letter
a formal word for letter
(rare) sent or intended to be sent
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin missivus, from mittere to send
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for missive

mid-15c., "commandment," noun use of adjective (mid-15c.) meaning "sent by superior authority," from Medieval Latin missivus "for sending, sent," especially in littera missiva "letters sent," from Latin missus, past participle of mittere "to send" (see mission).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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