1 of 4

noun (1)

often attributive
: material (such as letters and packages) sent or carried in a postal system
sorting through the mail
also : similar material distributed within an organization
interoffice mail
: a conveyance that transports mail
: a nation's postal system
a letter sent through the mail
often used in plural
packages sent through the mails
chiefly Scotland : bag, wallet


2 of 4


mailed; mailing; mails

transitive verb

: to send by mail : post entry 4
mailability noun
mailable adjective


3 of 4

noun (2)

: armor made of metal links or sometimes plates
: a hard enclosing covering of an animal (such as a tortoise)
mailed adjective


4 of 4

noun (3)

chiefly Scotland

Examples of mail in a Sentence

Verb if you don't mail that letter soon, it's going to arrive late
Recent Examples on the Web
About a month after the attack, the investigating sergeant had received a voice mail message from a woman who identified herself as Carmignani’s former mother-in-law. Jesse Barron, New York Times, 16 Nov. 2023 To donate by mail, send a check to Friendship Place, 4713 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 20016. John Kelly, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2023 On May 14, one day before the first mail plane took off, Robey visited a Washington, D.C. post office and asked whether any of the new Jenny stamps were in stock. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Nov. 2023 This mail, these texts, are all of a political nature. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 10 Nov. 2023 Travelers who applied for a passport in person or by mail can check the status of that application on the State Department's website. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 8 Nov. 2023 Tuesday is Election Day — the final day to cast a ballot, whether by voting in person, dropping one’s mail ballot in a drop box or mailing it. Emily Alvarenga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Nov. 2023 The San Diego Police Officers Association waged an ugly mail primary campaign against Montgomery Steppe, attempting to depict her as soft on crime and distorting her record. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Nov. 2023 Some calls went straight to voice mail or out-of-network messages; other connections were poor or dropped suddenly. Claire Parker, Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2023
Shiner: … from billions of miles away and— Dworkin: Other samples are mailed all the time. Chris Klimek, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Nov. 2023 The Ed Sullivan Theater was eventually renovated, but Colbert mailed his predecessor a piece of the original floor as a touching Christmas gift. Vulture, 16 Nov. 2023 After mailing letters to Santa, sending Christmas party invitations, and hanging the stockings by the chimney with care, the real holiday debate begins. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 13 Oct. 2023 The outlet also informed the government of the address on the envelope in which they were mailed. Marlow Stern, Rolling Stone, 31 Oct. 2023 Happy Returns said its survey found 81% of retailers implemented some form of return fee within the past year, including for mailing items back and for home pickup. Liz Young, WSJ, 26 Oct. 2023 Its website includes copies of the grievance form in multiple languages, and an address where the form can be mailed. Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 19 Oct. 2023 In terms of monitoring reproductive health, Abrams said, women can monitor their hormone levels — either by visiting endocrinologists or mailing in their biospecimens to labs — and speak with gynecologists about their concerns and ask about taking fertility assessments. Claretta Bellamy, NBC News, 18 Oct. 2023 Election Day — the final day to cast a ballot, whether by voting in person, dropping one’s mail ballot in a ballot drop box or mailing it — is Tuesday, Nov. 7. Emily Alvarenga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mail.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English male, from Anglo-French, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German malaha bag

Noun (2)

Middle English maille metal link, mail, from Anglo-French, from Latin macula spot, mesh

Noun (3)

Middle English male, maille, from Old English māl agreement, pay, from Old Norse māl speech, agreement; akin to Old English mǣl speech

First Known Use

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1827, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mail was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near mail

Cite this Entry

“Mail.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 noun
: letters or parcels sent from one person to another especially through the post office
: something that comes in the mail and especially in a single delivery
: a vehicle (as a train, truck, or boat) that carries mail
: the system used in the public sending and delivery of letters and parcels
do business by mail


2 of 3 verb
: to send by mail : post
mailer noun


3 of 3 noun
: armor made of small metal links or sometimes plates
a coat of mail


Middle English male "a wallet or traveling bag," from early French male (same meaning); of Germanic origin


Middle English maille "metal plates used on armor," from early French maille (same meaning), derived from Latin macula "spot, mesh of a net"

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