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philately

[fi-lat-l-ee] /fɪˈlæt l i/
noun
1.
the collecting of stamps and other postal matter as a hobby or an investment.
2.
the study of postage stamps, revenue stamps, stamped envelopes, postmarks, postal cards, covers, and similar material relating to postal or fiscal history.
Origin
1860-1865
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
Related forms
philatelic
[fil-uh-tel-ik] /ˌfɪl əˈtɛl ɪk/ (Show IPA),
philatelical, adjective
philatelically, adverb
philatelist
[fi-lat-l-ist] /fɪˈlæt l ɪst/ (Show IPA),
noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for philatelist
  • The sharp-eyed philatelist spots vestiges of wartime intelligence operations and learns something of their nature.
British Dictionary definitions for philatelist

philately

/fɪˈlætəlɪ/
noun
1.
the collection and study of postage stamps and all related material concerned with postal history
Derived Forms
philatelic (ˌfɪləˈtɛlɪk) adjective
philatelically, adverb
philatelist, noun
Word Origin
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 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 philatelist

philately

n.

"stamp-collecting," 1865, from French philatélie, coined by French stamp collector Georges Herpin (in "Le Collectionneur de Timbres-poste," Nov. 15, 1864), from Greek phil- "loving" (see philo-) + ateleia "exemption from tax," the closest word Herpin could find in ancient Greek to the concept of "postage stamp" (from a- "without" + telos "tax;" see toll (n.)). 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."

It is a pity that for one of the most popular scientific pursuits one of the least popularly intelligible names should have been found. [Fowler]
Related: Philatelic; philatelism; philatelist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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16
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