What is a dear john letter 1

Dear John Letter - Dear John letter

The letter his romantic partner wrote to a man to indicate that their relationship has ended

A Letter from Dear John is a letter his wife or romantic partner wrote to a man informing him that their relationship has ended, usually because they found another lover. The man is often a member of the overseas military, although the letter can be used in other ways, including being able to spot him when he returns to an empty house from work. It is usually sent after a vacation break.

Origin and Etymology

While the exact origins of the phrase are unknown, the most likely origin dates back to the 1862 poem. No thanks, John by the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti. In particular, the protagonist Alice Vavasor in Anthony Trollopes novel "Can You Forgive Her" from 1864 wrote such a letter to her, which will soon be the scorned lover John Gray. It is widely believed that it was coined by Americans during World War II. "John" was the most popular and common baby name for boys in America each year from 1880 to 1923. Large numbers of American troops were stationed overseas for many months or years, and as time went on, many of their wives or girlfriends decided to establish relationships with new men instead of waiting for the soldiers to return.

Since letters to soldiers from wives or girlfriends at home usually contain affectionate language (such as "Dear Johnny," "My dearest John," or just "Darling"), a soldier would receive a note that begins with a brief "Dear John" Immediately be aware of the purpose of the letter.

A writer in the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, New York, summarized it in August 1945:

"Dear John," the letter began. "I found someone who I think is in the world. I think the only way out is to get a divorce," it said. They usually started like this, those letters telling of infidelity on the part of women of soldiers ... The men called them "Dear Johns".

An early reference to letters from Dear John was made in a United Press article dated March 21, 1944. It has been claimed that the Vietnam War inspired more letters from Dear John than any other US conflict. This type of letter later formed the backdrop for the British television broadcast Dear John and the American sitcom of the same name. A letter from Dear Jane is a contemporary version of a letter from Dear John addressed to a lover.


This term is also used to describe employment-related letters written to inform an applicant that they have not been selected for a job, why workers have been dismissed from work, or from an employee to their employer when the employee leaves office.

See also