epistle


epistle
/i pis"euhl/, n.
1. a letter, esp. a formal or didactic one; written communication.
2. (usually cap.) one of the apostolic letters in the New Testament.
3. (often cap.) an extract, usually from one of the Epistles of the New Testament, forming part of the Eucharistic service in certain churches.
[bef. 900; ME; OE epistol < L epistula, epistola < Gk epistolé message, letter, equiv. to epi- EPI- + stol- (var. s. of stéllein to send) + -e n. suffix]

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      a composition in prose or poetry written in the form of a letter to a particular person or group.

      In literature there are two basic traditions of verse epistles, one derived from Horace's Epistles and the other from Ovid's Epistulae heroidum (better known as Heroides). The tradition based on Horace addresses moral and philosophical themes and has been the most popular form since the Renaissance. The form that developed from Ovid deals with romantic and sentimental subjects; it was more popular than the Horatian form during the European Middle Ages. Well-known examples of the Horatian form are the letters of Paul the Apostle (the Pauline epistles incorporated into the Bible), which greatly aided the growth of Christianity into a world religion, and such works as Alexander Pope's “An Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot.” Other writers who have used the form include Ben Jonson, John Dryden, and William Congreve, as well as W.H. Auden and Louis MacNeice more recently.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Epistle — E*pis tle, n. [OE. epistle, epistel, AS. epistol, pistol, L. epistola, fr. Gr. ? anything sent by a messenger, message, letter, fr. ? to send to, tell by letter or message; epi upon, to + ? to dispatch, send; cf. OF. epistle, epistre, F. [… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • epistle — refers primarily to the letters of the New Testament, e.g. the Epistle of St Paul the Apostle to the Romans. It is sometimes used ironically or whimsically to mean a letter of any kind: • When mischievous gossip columnists were prompted to… …   Modern English usage

  • epistle — O.E. epistol, from O.Fr. epistle, epistre (Mod.Fr. épitre), from L. epistola letter, from Gk. epistole message, letter, command, commission, whether verbal or in writing, from epistellein send to, from epi to (see EPI (Cf. epi )) + …   Etymology dictionary

  • epistle — ► NOUN 1) formal or humorous a letter. 2) (Epistle) a book of the New Testament in the form of a letter from an Apostle. ORIGIN Greek epistol , from epistellein send news …   English terms dictionary

  • epistle — [ē pis′əl] n. [ME epistel < OFr epistle (& OE epistol) < L epistola, epistula < Gr epistolē, a letter, message < epistellein, to send to < epi , to + stellein, to send, summon: see STALK1] 1. a letter, esp. a long, formal,… …   English World dictionary

  • Epistle — E*pis tle, v. t. To write; to communicate in a letter or by writing. [Obs.] Milton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • epistle — index dispatch (message) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Epistle — [ıˈpısəl] n one of the letters in the New Testament of the Bible …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • epistle — *letter, missive, note, message, dispatch, report, memorandum …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • epistle — [n] letter billet doux*, cannonball*, card, communication, dispatch, FYI*, get well, invite, kite*, line*, love letter, memo, message, missive, note, poison pen*, postcard, scratch*, tab*, thank you; concept 271 …   New thesaurus

  • Epistle — An epistle (pronounced [ɪˈpɪsəl] ) (Greek επιστολη, epistolē, letter ) is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of persons, usually a letter and a very formal, often didactic and elegant one. The letters in the New Testament from… …   Wikipedia


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