Philately



[fi-lat-l-ee] /fɪˈlæt l i/

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

See timbrophily
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.

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