mailing list

1.
a list of addresses to which mail, especially advertisements, can be sent.
2.
Computers.
a.
a list of e-mail addresses to which messages, usually on a specific topic, are sent.
b.
a discussion group whose messages are distributed through e-mail: the early American history mailing list. Compare list server.

Origin:
1905–10

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
mailing list
 
n
a register of names and addresses to which advertising matter, etc, is sent by post or electronic mail

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

mailing list definition

messaging
(Often shortened in context to "list") An electronic mail address that is an alias (or macro, though that word is never used in this connection) which is expanded by a mail exploder to yield many other e-mail addresses. Some mailing lists are simple "reflectors", redirecting mail sent to them to the list of recipients. Others are filtered by humans or programs of varying degrees of sophistication; lists filtered by humans are said to be "moderated".
The term is sometimes used, by extension, for the people who receive e-mail sent to such an address.
Mailing lists are one of the primary forms of hacker interaction, along with Usenet. They predate Usenet, having originated with the first UUCP and ARPANET connections. They are often used for private information-sharing on topics that would be too specialised for or inappropriate to public Usenet groups. Though some of these maintain almost purely technical content (such as the Internet Engineering Task Force mailing list), others (like the "sf-lovers" list maintained for many years by Saul Jaffe) are recreational, and many are purely social. Perhaps the most infamous of the social lists was the eccentric bandykin distribution; its latter-day progeny, lectroids and tanstaafl, still include a number of the oddest and most interesting people in hackerdom.
Mailing lists are easy to create and (unlike Usenet) don't tie up a significant amount of machine resources (until they get very large, at which point they can become interesting torture tests for mail software). Thus, they are often created temporarily by working groups, the members of which can then collaborate on a project without ever needing to meet face-to-face.
There are several programs to automate mailing list maintenance, e.g. Listserv, Listproc, Majordomo.
Requests to subscribe to, or leave, a mailing list should ALWAYS be sent to the list's "-request" address (e.g. ietf-request@cnri.reston.va.us for the IETF mailing list). This prevents them being sent to all recipients of the list and ensures that they reach the maintainer of the list, who may not actually read the list.
[Jargon File]
(2001-04-27)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
The author receives so many college bulletins in his mail that he believes
  himself to be on a special mailing list for dropouts.
Or you can work with businesses-taking care of their accounts, their database
  or mailing list, their order fulfillment.
The lectures will be videotaped, sent out to the group's mailing list and
  posted on its website.
Agents usually operate a mailing list system to update you when a suitable
  property appears on their books.
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