from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The collection and study of postage stamps, postmarks, and related materials; stamp collecting.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Stamp collecting.
  • n. The study of postage stamps, postal routes, postal history, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The collection of postage stamps of various issues.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The fancy for collecting and classifying postage-stamps and revenue-stamps as objects of curiosity; also, the occupation of making such collections.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the collection and study of postage stamps


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

French philatélie : Greek phil-, philo-, philo- + Greek ateleia, exemption from payment (because a postage stamp indicates prepayment of postage) (a-, without; see a-1 + telos, tax, charge; see telə- in Indo-European roots).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1865, from French philatélie, coined by French stamp collector Georges Herpin (in Le Collectionneur de Timbres-poste, Nov. 15, 1864) from Ancient Greek φιλο- (philo-, "love of") + ἀτέλεια (atelīa), the closest word he could find in Ancient Greek to the concept of "postage stamp" (from ἀ- (a-, "without") + τέλος (telos, "tax")). This word serves as 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".



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  • Have I told you philately that I love you?

    October 12, 2011

  • Soup to Nutz

    March 28, 2010

  • Pterodactyl– good thing she didn't say, "philate will get you nowhere"

    June 23, 2009

  • See Collyer.

    October 27, 2008

  • SonofGroucho is absolutely right. And therein lies a joke...

    This geeky guy sees a beautiful woman at a bar, so he walks over and tries to chat her up. "Hey, baby, wanna come back to my place and look at my stamp collection?"

    She raises an eyebrow and says "Philately will get you nowhere."

    March 16, 2008

  • I collect phrases too.

    December 12, 2007

  • Interesting question, SoG. I wouldn't call myself one, and yet I sometimes feel as though I'm likely to stuffocate from all my junk. ;-)

    December 12, 2007

  • I wonder how many Wordies are or were collectors of other things?

    December 12, 2007

  • On the contrary, you'll have enough postage to ship yourself anywhere!

    September 17, 2007

  • This will get you nowhere.

    September 15, 2007