[ fi-lat-l-ee ]

  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

First recorded in 1860–65; from French philatélie, from 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

Other words from philately

  • phil·a·tel·ic [fil-uh-tel-ik], /ˌfɪl əˈtɛl ɪk/, phil·a·tel·i·cal, adjective
  • phil·a·tel·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • phi·lat·e·list [fi-lat-l-ist], /fɪˈlæt l ɪst/, noun

Words Nearby philately Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use philately in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for philately


/ (fɪˈlætəlɪ) /

  1. the collection and study of postage stamps and all related material concerned with postal history

Origin of philately

C19: from French philatélie, from philo- + Greek ateleia exemption from charges (here referring to stamps), from a- 1 + telos tax, payment

Derived forms of philately

  • philatelic (ˌfɪləˈtɛlɪk), adjective
  • philatelically, adverb
  • philatelist, 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