A missive usually refers to the old-school style of hand-written communication on paper (remember that?), but these days you also might hear an email called a missive. No matter how you deliver it, a missive is a message.

The noun missive comes from the Latin word missus, meaning "to send." You may have heard the phrase, "fire off a missive," meaning a note, memo or dispatch that was written and sent with urgency and conveyed an important message. It might have been a missive sent from a commander to the troops, telling them of a change in the battle plan. Or, maybe it was an urgent love letter to the commander's wife back home, telling her to tie a yellow ribbon round the ole oak tree...

Definitions of missive
  1. noun
    a written message addressed to a person or organization
    synonyms: letter
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    business letter
    a letter dealing with business
    cover letter, covering letter
    a letter sent along with other documents to provide additional information
    crank letter
    a hostile (usually anonymous) letter
    encyclical, encyclical letter
    a letter from the pope sent to all Roman Catholic bishops throughout the world
    fan letter
    a letter that is a piece of fan mail
    personal letter
    a letter dealing with personal affairs
    form letter
    a letter that is printed in multiple copies and mailed to a list of recipients
    open letter
    a letter of protest; addressed to one person but intended for the general public
    chain letter
    a letter that is sent successively to several people
    a letter from a pastor to the congregation
    round robin
    a letter signed by a number of people
    aerogram, aerogramme, air letter, airmail letter
    a letter sent by air mail
    a specially long, formal letter
    dead letter, dead mail
    mail that can neither be delivered nor returned
    letter of intent
    any letter expressing an intention to take (or forgo) some action
    a request (spoken or written) to participate or be present or take part in something
    billet, line, note, short letter
    a short personal letter
    billet doux, love letter
    a personal letter to a loved one expressing affection
    bidding, summons
    a request to be present
    a colloquial expression for invitation
    investment letter
    a letter of intent saying that a letter security is being bought for investment and not for resale; avoids need for SEC registration
    type of:
    anything serving as a representation of a person's thinking by means of symbolic marks
    text, textual matter
    the words of something written
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