follow Dictionary.com

It’s about time. We are now on Instagram!

mail order

noun
1.
an order for goods received or shipped through the mail.
2.
the business of selling merchandise through the mail.
Origin
1865-1870
1865-70, Americanism

mail-order

[meyl-awr-der] /ˈmeɪlˌɔr dər/
adjective
1.
pertaining to or obtained by mail order:
a dozen mail-order rosebushes.
verb (used with object)
2.
to order (merchandise) by mail:
to mail-order fruitcakes for Christmas.
Origin
1865-70
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for mail order
  • Purchase organic ingredients at reputable health food stores and mail order companies.
  • Publishers' rates include educational, mail order, and non-profit advertising.
  • It's an mail order catalog and online company that sells party supplies.
  • His business: breeding exotic pythons and selling them by mail order.
British Dictionary definitions for mail order

mail order

noun
1.
an order for merchandise sent by post
2.
  1. a system of buying and selling merchandise through the post
  2. (as modifier): a mail-order firm
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for mail order

mail-order

adj.

1875, from mail (n.1) + order. Before television and the Internet, the bane of retailers and shop-owners.

The origin, foundation and principle of mail order trading is universally recognized as wrong. It was conceived in iniquity and brought forth in despair as the world's greatest destructive medium. Mail Order Trading was born in the brain of knaves and thieves who fired their building for insurance profits, then sold the salvaged and damaged stock to the unsuspecting sons of man in distant territory. [Thomas J. Sullivan, "Merchants and Manufacturers on Trial," Chicago, 1914]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for mail order

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for mail

6
8
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with mail order