dead letter


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Related to dead letter: Dead letter mail

dead letter

1. A letter that is unable to be delivered to the recipient or returned to the sender. The post office must destroy a dead letter if it can't be delivered or returned after a certain period of time.
2. An existing law or agreement that is no longer obeyed or enforced. The state's Sunday law is a dead letter as many stores open and conduct business on that day.
See also: dead, letter

dead letter

 
1. a piece of mail that is returned to the post office as both undeliverable and unreturnable. At the end of the year, the post office usually has bushels of dead letters. Some of the dead letters are opened to see if there is an address inside.
2. an issue, law, or matter that is no longer important or that no longer has force or power. His point about the need for education reform is a dead letter. It is being done now. This point of law is a dead letter since the last Supreme Court ruling on this matter.
See also: dead, letter

dead letter

1. An unclaimed or undelivered letter that is eventually destroyed or returned to the sender. For example, She moved without leaving a forwarding address, so her mail ended up in the dead letter office . [c. 1700]
2. A statute or directive that is still valid but in practice is not enforced. For example, The blue laws here are a dead letter; all the stores open on Sundays and holidays. [Second half of 1600s]
See also: dead, letter

a dead letter

If a law or agreement is a dead letter, people do not pay any attention to it, although it still exists. In this conflict, international humanitarian law is a dead letter. Note: A dead letter is a letter that the post office is unable either to deliver or to return to the sender, because it does not have the right addresses.
See also: dead, letter

dead letter

1. n. a letter that cannot move through the post office because the addressee does not exist or because the address is wrong or illegible. (Standard English.) Every now and then they open the dead letters to see if they can figure out who they were meant for.
2. n. an issue that does not matter anymore. This contract is a dead letter. Forget it!
See also: dead, letter
References in periodicals archive ?
Dead Letter Queue Solution - AutoOPERATOR for MQSeries sends alerts to the user's chosen management console when messages erroneously appear in the Dead Letter Queue
Manages dead letter queues interactively by allowing authorized users to display and edit messages in the dead letter queue; messages can be deleted, re-routed to another queue, UNLOADed to a file, and corrected before forwarding
The postal service's high- speed scanner/sorters are reading thousands of pieces of mail per hour and if the Postnet code is inaccurate or the symbol is unreadable, it's a dead letter that has to be processed manually.
They will also be able to diagnose dead letter queues, which is a key process in managing message delivery.
These letters, mostly addressed to "Santa Claus, North Pole" or "Santa Claus, North Pole, New York," end up at the post office's Dead Letter Unit, the department that handles undeliverable mail.
What, for example, was an Irish politician doing with an office in eastern Europe, described in the media as looking less like a place of business than the sort of dead letter box one finds in espionage novels?
It is a monumental task in a place, they know, has become a dead letter drop for so many.
Clearly the charter, agreed less than a year ago, is a dead letter.
Communism may have turned out to be a dead letter, but the maligned domino effect is alive and well, as evidenced by the subprime mortgage disaster.
After his rousing speech, the team get going as they get wind of a massive shipment of drugs arriving on Dead letter day for PO SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED: INSIDE THE POST OFFICE BBC2, 9pm POST offices have been at the heart of our communities for nearly 400 years.
In addition to this, there is the possibility that by then Turkey would be a full member of the EU and, by definition, fully respect human rights, in which case trust between the two communities would be strengthened to such a degree that the treaty of guarantee would become a dead letter.
TUNIS, (TAP) - President of the National Authority against Corruption Samir Annabi said the project to implement a national strategy against corruption remained "a dead letter," though one year has elapsed since its drafting began.
With the exception of the October 13 appointment of Bahah as premier, a September 21 deal with the rebels has remained a dead letter.