There are 2 main definitions of mail in English:

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mail1

Syllabification: mail
Pronunciation: /māl
 
/

noun

1Letters and packages conveyed by the postal system.
Example sentences
  • In front of our house is a seldom-used mailbox, because we receive our mail at a post office box in town.
  • Further to this, should any person need to send any mail or small parcels quickly then there are alternative services which guarantee next day delivery for a reasonable cost.
  • Buckingham Palace revealed that the Queen now sends second class mail when correspondence is not urgent.
1.1The postal system: you can order by mail the check is in the mail [as modifier]: a mail truck
More example sentences
  • Buy dormant tubers in winter, either by mail from a specialty nursery or from a nursery or garden center.
  • Test grades and certificates for accreditation were returned to us by mail.
  • We sent all of the questionnaires by mail with a postage-paid return envelope.
1.2 [in singular] A single delivery or collection of mail: the new magazine that came in the mail today
More example sentences
  • Vanities arrive by the cartful for her every morning with the mail.
  • Every morning, I nervously check the mail, every morning, my heart misses a beat.
  • Today the mail brought a puffy package from the eastern Seaboard; inside were two books by Patch Adams.
Synonyms
letters, correspondence;
postal system, postal service, post office;
delivery, collection;
email;
chiefly British post
informal snail mail
1.3 Computing Email.
Example sentences
  • This piece of software is like a border security guard, sitting between your email software and your incoming mail.
  • Once you combine encrypted mail with free Web storage space, you have the same functionality that a virtual safe-deposit box offers, for free.
  • He thought as long as he signed on to the internet he would have mail waiting for him.
1.4 dated A vehicle, such as a train, carrying mail.
1.5 archaic A bag of letters to be conveyed by the postal system.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Send (a letter or package) using the postal system: if you will mail the coupon, we’ll send you a free trial package
More example sentences
  • Yeah, the postmark definitely can trace to the post office where they mailed the letter.
  • The next day, he had two errands to run - one was to the post office to mail Laurie's letter.
  • They drove to the post office to mail the letter in case someone found it before it could be posted.
Synonyms
send, dispatch, post, direct, forward, redirect, ship, express, courier;
email
1.1 Computing Send (someone) email.
Example sentences
  • When an anti-virus program from a remote system mails you out of the blue, tells you that it blocked a virus you sent, tells you that you are likely infected with a virus and advertises itself, the remote site is sending you spam.
  • So for example, if a friend (we'll call her Sally) mails you a jpeg as an email attachment, it will store this relationship.
  • Unless you feel it is from a legitimate company that has made a genuine mistake in mailing you, do not respond to spam email messages.

Origin

Middle English (in the sense 'traveling bag'): from Old French male 'wallet', of West Germanic origin. The notion 'by post' dates from the mid 17th century.

More
  • Modern English has two different words spelled mail. The mail that refers to the postal system came immediately from French, but is related to Dutch maal meaning ‘wallet, bag’. This is also the oldest sense in English, and mails in the USA and Scotland is still a term for baggage. The use of a postal service arose in the mid 17th century from the bag in which letters were carried. From there it developed to the contents of the bag. ‘An item delivered’ is the origin of newspaper titles such as the Daily Mail. At the same time mail also came to apply to a person or vehicle delivering letters and packages, and then to the postal system itself. British usage favours post for both the system and the material delivered, while mail is dominant in North America and Australia. For electronic messages, though, mail and email are universal—the ordinary post is snail mail.

    In coat of mail the word came from Latin macula ‘stain, blemish, mesh of a net’, seen also in immaculate. Originally it referred to the individual metal rings or plates that make up the armour, so a knight would have worn a coat of mails. See also blackmail

Derivatives

mailable

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • Article 526.6 states that, ‘Small, harmless, cold-blooded animals, except for snakes, turtles, and turtle eggs, are mailable only when they meet certain requirements.’
  • The Mail Art Piece produces a ‘glasslike’ postcard that is mailable.
  • Each contributor now owns a unique edition of twenty unique mailable artifacts.

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There are 2 main definitions of mail in English:

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mail2

Syllabification: mail
Pronunciation: /māl
 
/

noun

historical
1Armor made of metal rings or plates, joined together flexibly.
Example sentences
  • Each Corinthian soldier wore a simple coat of chain mail beneath a set of light plate mail, complete with a helm that was adorned with a small plume of pure white fur.
  • They all wore the battle armour they brought with them; steel plate mail with high, circular collars and round shoulder pieces.
  • The twenty-five or so remaining Crimson Knights donned their plate mail and readied their weapons.
1.1The protective shell or scales of certain animals.
Example sentences
  • The man-beast tried to bit Wolfus, but his greenish dragon scale mail just wouldn't let its fang through.
  • They probably need at least helms, to protect them from mobs of carrion birds, and mail on their bellies to cover ground-to-air arrows.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
Clothe or cover with mail: (as adjective mailed) a mailed gauntlet
More example sentences
  • The Tapestry shows Norman knights and English soldiers wearing identical mailed hauberks or byrnies.
  • They wore a mailed shirt called the 'hauberk', constructed of interlinked iron rings, which afforded protection to the body, upper arms and thighs.

Origin

Middle English (also denoting the individual metal elements composing mail armor): from Old French maille, from Latin macula 'spot or mesh'.

More
  • Modern English has two different words spelled mail. The mail that refers to the postal system came immediately from French, but is related to Dutch maal meaning ‘wallet, bag’. This is also the oldest sense in English, and mails in the USA and Scotland is still a term for baggage. The use of a postal service arose in the mid 17th century from the bag in which letters were carried. From there it developed to the contents of the bag. ‘An item delivered’ is the origin of newspaper titles such as the Daily Mail. At the same time mail also came to apply to a person or vehicle delivering letters and packages, and then to the postal system itself. British usage favours post for both the system and the material delivered, while mail is dominant in North America and Australia. For electronic messages, though, mail and email are universal—the ordinary post is snail mail.

    In coat of mail the word came from Latin macula ‘stain, blemish, mesh of a net’, seen also in immaculate. Originally it referred to the individual metal rings or plates that make up the armour, so a knight would have worn a coat of mails. See also blackmail

Phrases

the mailed fist

1
The use of physical force to maintain control or impose one’s will.
Example sentences
  • Those original six are represented on the squadron's badge - the mailed fist apparently symbolises the first CO Lt Cdr R.F. Walker (apparent a ‘robust’ individual) and five clouds stand in for those five pilots.
  • Soft talk or big stick, carrot and stick, accept the velvet glove or face the mailed fist.
  • The balance of the country's history - before and after independence - is overwhelmingly weighted in favour of the mailed fist rather than the velvet glove.

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