Open letter

Open letter
"J'accuse" is an influential open letter written by Émile Zola in 1898 over the Dreyfus Affair.
Bill Gates's Open Letter to Hobbyists from the Homebrew Computer Club Newsletter, January 1976

An open letter is a letter that is intended to be read by a wide audience, or a letter intended for an individual, but that is nonetheless widely distributed intentionally.[1]

Open letters usually take the form of a letter addressed to an individual but provided to the public through newspapers and other media, such as a letter to the editor or blog.[2] Especially common are critical open letters addressed to political leaders.

Letters patent are another form of open letter in which a legal document is both mailed to a person by the government, and publicized so that all are made aware of it. Open letters can also be addressed directly to a group rather than any individual.

Contents

Motivations for writing open letters

There are a number of reasons why an individual would choose the form of an open letter, including the following reasons:

  • To state the author's position on a particular issue
  • As an attempt to start or end a wider dialogue around an issue
  • To criticise someone's actions
  • As an attempt to focus broad attention on the letter's recipient, prompting them to some action
  • For humor value
  • Simply to make public a communication that must take place as a letter for reasons of formality

Examples

See also

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • open letter — open letters N COUNT An open letter is a letter that is published in a newspaper or magazine. It is addressed to a particular person but is intended for the general reader, usually in order to protest or give an opinion about something. The… …   English dictionary

  • open letter — open letter, adj. a letter, often of protest or criticism, addressed to a specific person, but intended to be brought to public attention. [1875 80] * * * …   Universalium

  • open letter — n a letter to an important person, which is printed in a newspaper or magazine, usually in order to protest about something …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • open letter — noun count a letter that is addressed to a particular person or organization but is published in a newspaper so that everyone can read it …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • open letter — ► NOUN ▪ a letter addressed to a particular person but intended for publication in a newspaper or journal …   English terms dictionary

  • open letter — n. a letter written as to a specific person, often in attack, criticism, etc., but published in a newspaper or magazine for everyone to read …   English World dictionary

  • open letter — noun a letter of protest; addressed to one person but intended for the general public • Hypernyms: ↑letter, ↑missive * * * noun, pl ⋯ ters [count] : a letter that is published in a newspaper but that is addressed to a well known person or to an… …   Useful english dictionary

  • open letter — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms open letter : singular open letter plural open letters a letter that is addressed to a particular person or organization but is published in a newspaper so that everyone can read it …   English dictionary

  • open letter — {n. phr.} A public message in the form of a letter addressed to a particular person or to a group. * /There was an open letter to the president of the United States in today s morning paper./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • open letter — {n. phr.} A public message in the form of a letter addressed to a particular person or to a group. * /There was an open letter to the president of the United States in today s morning paper./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”