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15th Century; from Medieval Latin missivus, from mittere (to send).



missive (plural missives)

  1. (formal) A written message; a letter, note or memo.
    • 2008, Claire Armistead, The Guardian, 25 Oct 2008:
      The Madonna letters, which are interspersed with more personal missives in this curious epistolary memoir, accumulate into a rap about the downsides of celebrity - the problems of ageing, of invaded privacy, of becoming vain and impetuously adopting children from other continents.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, Chapter 71:
      "Curses throttle thee!" yelled Ahab. "Captain Mayhew, stand by now to receive it"; and taking the fatal missive from Starbuck's hands, he caught it in the slit of the pole, and reached it over towards the boat.
  2. (obsolete) One who is sent; a messenger.
    Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it came missives from the King, who all hailed me ‘Thane of Cawdor,’ by which title these Weird Sisters saluted me and referred me to the coming on of time with ‘Hail king that shalt be.’



missive (not comparable)

  1. Specially sent; intended or prepared to be sent.
    a letter missive
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ayliffe to this entry?)
  2. missile
    • Dryden
      The missive weapons fly.



missive f (plural missives)

  1. missive



missive f

  1. plural of missiva