Definition of philately in English:

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Pronunciation: /fɪˈlat(ə)li/


[mass noun]
The collection and study of postage stamps.
Example sentences
  • Though he started philately as a hobby during his school days and collected many stamps, lack of penpals plus adequate finances prevented him from pursuing it vigorously.
  • The number of commemorative stamps issued has increased rapidly since World War II, in response to the improvements in printing techniques that have allowed greater variety of design, and to the growth of philately as a hobby.
  • A keen coin and stamp collector as well as a dealer in rare stamps and ancient coins, he avers that philately has become a rich-man's hobby.



Pronunciation: /ˌfɪləˈtɛlɪk/
Example sentences
  • It will feature 40 stamp and postcard dealers whose wares cover all aspects of the hobby, as well as up to 25 philatelic societies holding meetings and offering advice.
  • The scope of the philatelic world renders the boast that stamp collecting is ‘probably the most popular indoor hobby that exists’ entirely believable.
  • This stamp was not well received by the philatelic community.


Pronunciation: /fɪləˈtɛlɪk(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • Recognising that many deserving names and items have yet to be commemorated philatelically, postal authorities are urged to address these deficits.
  • Philatelically speaking, only the USS BEAR had an official post office and all mail sent from either of the two bases or USS NORTH STAR was canceled aboard the USS BEAR.


Pronunciation: /fɪˈlatəlɪst/
Example sentences
  • Many philatelists have recorded history through their exhibits on such topics as ‘national leaders, birds, animals, sports, occupation, currency and important events.’
  • Philately has undergone a transformation over the years, as young philatelists are more keen on thematic stamps.
  • I just hope that philatelists can now enjoy the collection, especially the rare stamps.


Mid 19th century: from French philatélie, from philo- 'loving' + Greek ateleia 'exemption from payment' (from a- 'not' + telos 'toll, tax'), used to mean a franking mark or postage stamp exempting the recipient from payment.

  • This is one of the few words whose origin can be pinned down precisely. A Monsieur Herpin, a keen stamp collector, proposed the French word philatélie in the 15 November 1864, issue of Le Collectionneur de Timbres-poste (‘The Stamp Collector’). He formed it from Greek philo- ‘loving’ and ateleia ‘exemption from payment’, as a stamp shows that the price for delivery has already been paid. British stamp collectors quickly anglicized the French word to philately, which is recorded in an enthusiasts' magazine in December 1865. M. Herpin's use of philo- followed a well-established tradition in word formation, found in words such as philanthropy (early 17th century) from philo- and anthropos ‘human being’ (also found in anthropology (late 16th century), the study of mankind); philosopher (Middle English) combined with sophos ‘wisdom’ ( see further at sophisticated), and anglophile (mid 19th century).

Words that rhyme with philately

Natalie, rattly

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: phil|ately

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