Salutation is the term used to describe the beginning of a letter or other correspondence. What is the term used for the closing of a letter? Here are some examples: Yours truly, Sincerely, Best wishes, Love?

Searching for 'antonym of salutation'1 was not helpful.

EDIT: This need not be expressed as a single word. (Whatever is correct is fine, whether one word or a phrase!)

1. Citation (IEEE Style): Thesaurus.com, "salutation," in Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition. Source location: Philip Lief Group 2009.

2 Answers 2


The symmetrical term is valediction, but I don't suppose it's very much used.

  • 2
    I think that it IS used, or sought, more than we realize. This was just suggested to me as an illustration of the currency of valediction in current times therealsouthkorea.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/… And I think that "symmetrical term" is the better way to describe it, instead of antonym. Thank you! Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 18:26
  • Perhaps you could refer to it as a 'sign-off' or 'statement signing off' in more common tongue.
    – Resquiens
    Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 20:03
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    I agree it is not much used, though it probably should be! "The day was breaking. In the disfigured street he left me, with a kind of valediction, And faded on the blowing of the horn."
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Jul 21, 2017 at 17:23
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    Valediction is used in US English. Closing or Complimentary Closing is used in British & International English. Neither terms are in common everyday use since the mass-cultural move to email. I was taught both in formal letter-writing classes 40 years ago (which no longer exist for obvious reasons).
    – rmcsharry
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 17:59
  • "Valediction" is not used much, but "valedictorian" is the same word and is much more common.
    – fectin
    Commented Oct 10, 2021 at 16:28

I've only ever heard that line referred to as the closing.

If we're to go by one of the many virtually identical letter diagrams available online, that usage is confirmed, although some call it the complimentary closing.

Barrie's suggestion of valediction is technically correct, but so far as I can tell it's not really in use.

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    I would suggest they come in word pairs, i.e. salutation-valediction and opening-closing. When using one of the terms in a word pair it would be proper form to also use the other (although proper form is often not called for, of course).
    – Bjorn
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 18:07
  • @Bjorn: I don't think it's so much that "proper form" isn't called for; it's really just that valediction is (for whatever reason) vastly more obscure than salutation in practice.
    – John Y
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 21:35
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    I have also only ever seen/heard closing or (less frequently) complimentary closing for this in actual use. Thus, I consider this absolutely the right answer for the literal (descriptivist) question in the subject line. Even Barrie concedes valediction isn't much used.
    – John Y
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 21:43
  • @Feral Oink: But that's my point exactly. I specifically noted your question, and your question asks what term is used. The answer is: Closing is the term used for the closing of a letter.
    – John Y
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 22:29
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    let us continue this discussion in chat
    – John Y
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 22:57

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