philately was our Word of the Day on 05/21/2017. Hear the podcast!
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.
Origin and Etymology of 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
First Known Use: circa 1865
PHILATELY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of philately for English Language Learners
: the study or collection of postage stamps
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