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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.
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Examples from the web for mail-order
  • The police also found six human skulls that she had purchased from a mail-order catalog.
  • If you can't find what you want locally, try a specialist or a mail-order source.
  • Bare-root plants are sold in late winter and early spring by retail nurseries and mail-order companies.
  • Garden centers and mail-order companies offer many sorts of hoes.
  • mail-order brides are often victims of human trafficking.
  • He had run a mail-order business and worked for an advertising agency.
  • He learned the tricks of the trade through mail-order art lessons.
  • If you don't want to wait, mail-order some of the spuds now.
  • The latest edition to their mail-order party-supplies offerings is a royal-blue scratch-card trifecta.
  • There are plenty of specialty stores, lending libraries, and mail-order clubs.
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
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Word Origin and History for 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
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Difficulty index for mail order

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for mail

6
8
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Quotes with mail-order