philately

[fi-lat-l-ee]
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 philately

Historical Examples of philately

  • It is impossible to estimate the injury resulting to Philately.

  • Like the lady said to the stamp collector, philately will get you everywhere.

    Makers

    Cory Doctorow

  • Here is a problem which the next convert to philately may undertake to solve.

  • He had planned many greater things to do for philately, but these the stamp world will lose through his early death.

  • Philately embraces the whole earth and likewise the whole earth is sometimes embraced within the limits of a postage stamp.


British Dictionary definitions for philately

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 for philately

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 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