or e-mail

[ ee-meyl ]
See synonyms for email on
  1. a system for sending messages to one or more recipients via telecommunications links between computers using dedicated software or a web-based service: Communication by email is almost instantaneous.

  2. a message sent by email: Send me an email about that idea, and I'll get back to you.

  1. an address at which a person can receive email messages: He’s got my phone number and email in case he needs to contact me.

verb (used with object)
  1. to send (a message or file) to (a person or organization) by email: He emailed his response to the invitation. I emailed the company but haven’t heard back yet.

verb (used without object)
  1. to send an email; communicate by email or exchange emails: She emailed to say she’ll be on vacation next week. We emailed back and forth for three weeks before actually meeting.

Origin of email

First recorded in 1975–80; e(lectronic) + mail1

word story For email

See internet. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use email in a sentence

  • If you come across a long passage that you recognize, e-mail lucy2424 at sbcglobal dot net.

    Alida | Amelia Stratton Comfield
  • Our e-mail reaches us as it reaches those to whom we send messages, even though most people have no idea how.

  • Determining the paths of an e-mail message is trivial for a machine, but almost impossible for a human being.

  • Messages exchanged on the data highways-from e-mail to Web communication-often display the same characteristics of aphasia.

British Dictionary definitions for e-mail



/ (ˈiːmeɪl) /

  1. short for electronic mail

  1. to contact (a person) by electronic mail

  2. to send (a message, document, etc) by electronic mail

Derived forms of e-mail

  • e-mailer, noun

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

Scientific definitions for e-mail


  1. A system for sending and receiving messages electronically over a computer network. E-mail is asynchronous and does not require the receiver of the message to be online at the time the message is sent or received. E-mail also allows a user to distribute messages to large numbers of recipients instantaneously.

  2. A message or messages sent or received by such a system.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for e-mail


E-mail has become one of the most widely used aspects of the Internet, because it provides a means of mass communication to almost anywhere in the world at high speed.

Notes for e-mail

The proliferation of spam and the transmission of computer viruses through e-mail attachments are two of the more problematic aspects of this technology.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.