pen pal



a person with whom one keeps up an exchange of letters, usually someone so far away that a personal meeting is unlikely: My niece in Texas has a pen pal in France.

Nearby words

  1. pen,
  2. pen computer,
  3. pen drive,
  4. pen friend,
  5. pen name,
  6. pen pusher,
  7. pen-,
  8. pen-based,
  9. pen-friend,
  10. pen-pal

Origin of pen pal

An Americanism dating back to 1935–40 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pen-pal

  • But Lovell says inmates who are involved in pen-pal relationships tend to do better in prison.

    Death-Row Pen Pals|Deidre Depke|November 20, 2009|DAILY BEAST

British Dictionary definitions for pen-pal

pen pal


a person with whom one regularly exchanges letters, often a person in another country whom one has not metAlso called: pen friend
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 pen-pal



also pen pal, 1931, from pen (n.1) + pal (n.). gradually replacing earlier pen-friend (1919).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper