Definition of au pied de la lettre in English:

au pied de la lettre

Pronunciation /əʊ ˌpjeɪ də la ˈlɛtr(ə)/

adverb

  • Exactly, down to the last detail; literally. Compare to the letter.

Origin

Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Charles Jarvis (1675–1739), portrait painter and translator. From French au pied de la lettre, lit. ‘to the foot of the letter’ from au to the + pied foot + de + la the + lettre.