When writing a letter it typically starts out "Dear..." and then has the content, then before you sign it you might have a formal or informal (depending on who you're writing to) sign off, for example:

blah blah blah letter content blah blah.

Kind regards/Many thanks/Best wishes/Cheers!/etc

Does this final closing portion of your letter have a name?

For comparison, the middle portion of the letter is the body and the opener could be described as a greeting or, more accurately, the salutation. but I don't think this last bit could be called a farewell as such.

So what should it be called?

  • As an aside, the middle portion of a letter is usually called the "body" of the letter. The opening is commonly called the "Salutation" though "Greeting" is also acceptable. – OneProton Feb 2 '11 at 21:03

I have always heard the "Sincerely, Joe Smith" part of a letter called the closing.

(And the part you describe as the greeting ("Dear Mr. Blahblah") I'm used to calling the salutation.)


It's called a valediction or a complimentary close. The opening phrase is called a salutation.

  • 2
    This. +1. – RegDwigнt Feb 3 '11 at 9:09
  • valediction | ˌvaləˈdikSHən | noun the action of saying farewell – alex gray Aug 22 '18 at 14:28

I would describe it as a "valedictory"..."farewell words".

  • 1
    Or simply, a "farewell"? – alex gray Aug 22 '18 at 14:29
  • Yeah, that works, too. – Chris B. Behrens Aug 22 '18 at 21:04

Valediction would be correct although it is neither used as frequently nor as familiarly as the term, "salutation" (which describes the beginning greeting). I suppose we have E.B. White's "Charlotte" to thank for that.

protected by tchrist Mar 1 '15 at 19:10

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