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4 'Letter' Idioms

Average: 3.8 (17 votes)

To the letter

If you do exactly what you are told to do, you follow instructions to the letter.

I don't know how it went wrong, I followed the instructions to the letter.

a Dear John letter

A letter a woman send to her boyfriend when she wants to end their relationship.

He's upset because he just got a Dear John letter from his girlfriend.

a red-letter day

A red letter is any important or significant day. The origin of this idiom comes from the practice of printing holidays in red on the calendar.

Tony's daughter was born on the same day he got promoted in work; it was a real red-letter day for him.

a poison-pen letter

An anonymous letter (has no signature) which says unpleasant things about the person it is sent to. They are usually sent to frighten or insult the recipient.

After he received a third poison-pen letter, he decided to show them to the police.

To help you remember these idioms, take this short quiz:

  • 1) Follow my instructions ___ the letter and you will be fine.

  • 2) He was arrested for sending ___-pen letters to celebrities.

  • 3) He had been abroad for six months when he received a Dear ___ letter from his girlfriend.

  • 4) Today is a ___-letter day in our country's history.