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philately

[fi-lat-l-ee]
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noun
  1. the collecting of stamps and other postal matter as a hobby or an investment.
  2. the study of postage stamps, revenue stamps, stamped envelopes, postmarks, postal cards, covers, and similar material relating to postal or fiscal history.

Origin of philately

1860–65; < French philatélie < Greek phil- phil- + atéleia freedom from charges (taken to mean recipient's freedom from delivery charges by virtue of the stamp which sender affixed to the letter), literally, want of taxation, equivalent to a- a-6 + tél(os) tax + -eia -y3
Related formsphil·a·tel·ic [fil-uh-tel-ik] /ˌfɪl əˈtɛl ɪk/, phil·a·tel·i·cal, adjectivephil·a·tel·i·cal·ly, adverbphi·lat·e·list [fi-lat-l-ist] /fɪˈlæt l ɪst/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for philatelic

Historical Examples

  • Reprints, for philatelic purposes, should be classed with forgeries.

    Peeps at Postage Stamps

    Stanley Currie Johnson

  • It will have a good financial backing, and it is expected to be one of the leading publications in the philatelic line.

  • It is with these two provinces that our philatelic story of Canada begins.

  • You see there are still worlds to conquer, in spite of all the inky battles that have been waged by philatelic writers.

  • Our own country has added to the philatelic "zoo" by placing a herd of cattle on one of the Trans-Mississippi issue.


British Dictionary definitions for philatelic

philately

noun
  1. the collection and study of postage stamps and all related material concerned with postal history
Derived Formsphilatelic (ˌfɪləˈtɛlɪk), adjectivephilatelically, adverbphilatelist, noun

Word Origin

C19: from French philatélie, from philo- + Greek ateleia exemption from charges (here referring to stamps), from a- 1 + telos tax, payment
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for philatelic

philately

n.

"stamp-collecting," 1865, from French philatélie, coined by French stamp collector Georges Herpin (in "Le Collectionneur de Timbres-poste," Nov. 15, 1864), from Greek phil- "loving" (see philo-) + ateleia "exemption from tax," the closest word Herpin could find in ancient Greek to the concept of "postage stamp" (from a- "without" + telos "tax;" see toll (n.)). A reminder of the original function of postage stamps, now often forgotten: the cost of letter-carrying formerly was paid by the recipient; stamps indicated it had been pre-paid by the sender, thus the letters were "carriage-free."

It is a pity that for one of the most popular scientific pursuits one of the least popularly intelligible names should have been found. [Fowler]

Related: Philatelic; philatelism; philatelist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper