the collecting of stamps and other postal matter as a hobby or an investment.
the study of postage stamps, revenue stamps, stamped envelopes, postmarks, postal cards, covers, and similar material relating to postal or fiscal history.

1860–65; < French philatélie < Greek phil- phil- + atéleia freedom from charges (taken to mean recipient's freedom from delivery charges by virtue of the stamp which sender affixed to the letter), literally, want of taxation, equivalent to a- a-6 + tél(os) tax + -eia -y3

philatelic [fil-uh-tel-ik] , philatelical, adjective
philatelically, adverb
philatelist [fi-lat-l-ist] , noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
philately (fɪˈlætəlɪ)
the collection and study of postage stamps and all related material concerned with postal history
[C19: from French philatélie, from philo- + Greek ateleia exemption from charges (here referring to stamps), from a-1 +telos tax, payment]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"stamp-collecting," 1865, coined by Fr. stamp collector Georges Herpin (in "Le Collectionneur de Timbres-poste," Nov. 15, 1864), from Gk. phil- "loving" + ateleia "exemption from tax," the closest word he could find in ancient Gk. to the concept of "postage stamp" (from a- "without" + telos "tax"). A
reminder of the original function of postage stamps, now often forgotten: the cost of letter-carrying formerly was paid by the recipient; stamps indicated it had been pre-paid by the sender, thus the letters were "carriage-free."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Several postal covers and postcards were placed with the philatelic collection.
Stamp issuing nations are flooding the philatelic market with hundreds of new issues.
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