|1.||the conventional postal system, as opposed to electronic mail|
|2.||(tr) to send by the conventional postal system, rather than by electronic mail|
|[C20: so named because of the relative slowness of the conventional postal system]|
A term used to denote mail sent via the traditional postal service, usually to contrast that process to e-mail.
Ordinary postal service, as opposed to electronic communications. For example, He hasn't taken to his computer so he's still using snail mail. This slangy idiom, alluding to the alleged slowness of the snail, caught on at least partly for its rhyme. [1980s]