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[meyl-boks] /ˈmeɪlˌbɒks/
a public box in which mail is placed for pickup and delivery by the post office.
a private box, as at a home, into which mail is delivered by the mail carrier.
Computers. a file for storing electronic mail.
Origin of mailbox
1800-10; mail1 + box1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mailbox
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If we cashed that check, then it couldn't be put back in father's mailbox without anybody knowing about it.

    The Fourth R George Oliver Smith
  • Oscar's the one who actual put it in the mailbox and stole the stamp!

    Master of None Lloyd Neil Goble
  • That would have been prepared in New Orleans and dropped in the mailbox.

    Warren Commission (7 of 26): Hearings Vol. VII (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
  • He'd checked the mailbox beside the front porch but there'd been no name.

    Ten From Infinity Paul W. Fairman
  • Before climbing into it, he crossed and dropped an envelope into the mailbox.

    Nedra George Barr McCutcheon
British Dictionary definitions for mailbox


(mainly US & Canadian)
  1. a slot, usually covered with a hinged flap, through which letters, etc are delivered to a building
  2. a private box into which letters, etc, are delivered Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) letter box
(mainly US & Canadian) a public box into which letters, etc, are put for collection and delivery Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) postbox
(on a computer) the directory in which e-mail messages are stored; also used of the icon that can be clicked to provide access to e-mails
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 mailbox

also mail-box, 1797, "box for mailbags on a coach," from mail (n.1) + box (n.1). Meaning "letterbox" is from 1853, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mailbox in Technology

1. A file belonging to a particular user on a particular computer in which received electronic mail messages are stored ready for the user to read them. A mailbox may be just an electronic mail address to which messages are sent and may not actually correspond to a file if the messages are processed automatically, e.g. a mail server or mailing list.
2. A destination for interprocess messages in a message passing system. A mailbox is a message queue, usually stored in the memory of the processor on which the receiving process is running. Primitives are provided for sending a message to a named mailbox and for reading messages from a mailbox.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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