phi·​lat·​e·​ly | \ fə-ˈla-tə-lē How to pronounce philately (audio) \

Definition of philately

: the collection and study of postage and imprinted stamps : stamp collecting

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Other Words from philately

philatelic \ ˌfi-​lə-​ˈte-​lik How to pronounce philately (audio) \ adjective
philatelically \ ˌfi-​lə-​ˈte-​li-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce philately (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

Who wouldn't love something tax free? George Herpin did. He was a French stamp fancier back in the 1860s, when stamps were a fairly new invention. Before stamps, the recipient of a letter - not the sender - had to pay the postage. Stamps forced the sender to foot the bill, and created a lot of stamp lovers among folks on the receiving end of the mail - and a mania for stamp collecting. "Timbromania" was toyed with as a term to affix to this new hobby - from the French word for stamp, "timbre." But when Herpin suggested "philatélie" (anglicized to "philately"), combining the Greek root phil-, meaning "loving," with Greek ateleia, meaning "tax-exemption," stamp lovers everywhere took a fancy to it and the name stuck.

First Known Use of philately

circa 1865, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for philately

French philatélie, from phil- + Greek ateleia tax exemption, from atelēs free from tax, from a- + telos tax; perhaps akin to Greek tlēnai to bear; from the fact that a stamped letter frees the recipient from paying the mailing charges — more at tolerate

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Time Traveler for philately

Time Traveler

The first known use of philately was circa 1865

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Cite this Entry

“Philately.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of philately

technical : the study or collection of postage stamps

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Nglish: Translation of philately for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about philately

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