philately

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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 (atéleia), the closest word he could find in Ancient Greek to the concept of "postage stamp", from ἀ- (a-, without) + τέλος (télos, 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".

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

philately (countable and uncountable, plural philatelies)

  1. Stamp collecting.
  2. The study of postage stamps, postal routes, postal history, etc.

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]