A seal at the time of a letter
- a sign of authorized or exceptional condition
- a warrant formerly issued by a French king who could warrant imprisonment or death in a signed letter under his seal
- a seal on a letter
- A seal, by a letter.
1630s, Scottish borrowing from the bank of French cachet "seal affixed to a letter or document" (16c.), from Old French dialectal cacher "to push, audience," from Latin coactare "constrain" (see cache). Indicating evolving through "(letter underneath) individual stamp (of this master)" to "prestige." Compare French lettre de cachet "letter under seal associated with the master."
- stamp [made by the official on a passport etc.]
See Honore Mirabeau, Les Lettres de cachet et des prisons d'etat (Hamburg, 1782), written in the dungeon at Vincennes into which his father had thrown him by a lettre de cachet, one of the ablest and most eloquent of his works, which had an immense circulation and was translated into English with a dedication to the duke of Norfolk in 1788; Frantz Funck-Brentano, Les Lettres de cachet d Paris (Paris, 1904); and Andre Chassaigne, Les Lettres de cachet sous l'ancien regime (Paris, 1903).