Jump to content

Poison pen letter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Poison words)
An anonymous poison pen letter to a former teacher. The German text says: "You ... ass. We are glad not to have you at our school any longer." The letter also contained the mask pictured here.

A poison pen letter (or poisoned pen letter[1]) is a letter or note containing unpleasant, abusive, or malicious statements or accusations about the recipient or a third party. It is usually sent anonymously, often by employing the ransom note effect to avoid exposing the author's handwriting. Poison pen letters are usually composed and sent to upset the recipient,[2] and differ from blackmail, which is intended to obtain something from the recipient. The reference to poison is figurative rather than literal.

In the United Kingdom, Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 covers most cases of poison pen letters.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "POISONED PEN TRACED TO 3 INSANE WOMEN; Letters to Girls About to be Married Written in Or Near Middletown Asylum". The New York Times. December 2, 1915. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  2. ^ "Has the anonymous author of the infamous Circleville letters been unmasked?". www.cbsnews.com. 25 December 2022.
  3. ^ "Communications Offences: Legal Guidance". Crown Prosecution Service. 7 November 2013. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2013.