crank letter

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crank letter

A letter that is typically anonymous and done as a joke or prank. The message is usually wacky or makes little sense Why are we getting so many annoying crank letters in the mail all of a sudden?
See also: crank, letter
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

crank letter

Also, crank call. An irrational, fanatical, or hostile letter or telephone call. For example, The office was flooded with mail, including a lot of crank letters, or Harriet was upset enough by the crank calls to notify the police. This expression employs crank in the sense of "irrational person." The first term dates from the mid-1900s, the variant from the 1960s.
See also: crank, letter
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
She says: "You always got a few crank letters at work but this one man waited for me outside Broadcasting House every day for five years.
According to film expert Matthew Sweet, who made the programme, Chaplin received many crank letters which he usually destroyed.
The spokeswoman admitted that the couple had received negative mail and crank letters amid the many messages of support.
The Monklands East MP's agent, Frank Roy, said: "Every politician gets crank letters but this is different.
Though now filed in Flexner's Papers under the heading "Crank Letters and Fantastic Theories," Rogers wants to use them to support her case that medicine is a "dynamic process of negotiation between doctor and patient within the context of family and community".
Look for recent crank letters. Do they convey threats against the corporation or its officers?
"I have received some crank letters but nothing I would describe as hate mail.