Word of the Day : December 17, 2010

philately

play
noun fuh-LAT-uh-lee

Definition

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

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.


Examples

Given his interests in both philately and football, Michael was excited to learn about the post office’s new series of stamps featuring legendary quarterbacks.

"Those who imagine philately as boring probably have never examined a stamp, seen the intricacy of the design or researched the story behind the postal issue." -- From an article by Mark A. Kellner in The Washington Times, August 17, 2010



Test Your Vocabulary

What is the word for the collection and study of coins, tokens, and paper money? The answer is ...


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!