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Borrowing from Old French epistre, from Latin epistola, from Ancient Greek ἐπιστολή (epistolḗ), from ἐπιστέλλω (epistéllō, I send a message), from ἐπί (epí, upon) + στέλλω (stéllō, I prepare, send).


  • Hyphenation: e‧pis‧tle
  • IPA(key): /ɪˈpɪs.l/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪsəl


epistle (plural epistles)

  1. A letter, or a literary composition in the form of a letter.
  2. (Christianity) One of the letters included as a book of the New Testament.
    • 1956 — Werner Keller (translated by William Neil), The Bible as History, revised English edition, Chapter 41, page 358
      Even last century scholars had begun to search for the cities in Asia Minor whose names have become so familiar to the Chistian world through the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of St. Paul.

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epistle (third-person singular simple present epistles, present participle epistling, simple past and past participle epistled)

  1. (obsolete) To write; to communicate in a letter or by writing.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Milton to this entry?)