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".
philately (countable and uncountable; plural philatelies)
- Stamp collecting.
- The study of postage stamps, postal routes, postal history, etc.
Related terms 
the study of postage stamps, postal routes, postal history, etc.