1865, borrowed from French philatélie, coined by French stamp collector Georges Herpin (in Le Collectionneur de Timbres-poste, Nov. 15, 1864) from Ancient Greek φιλέω (philéō, “I love”) + ἀτέλεια (atéleia), the closest word he could find in Ancient Greek to the concept of “postage stamp”, from ἀ- (a-, “without”) + τέλος (télos, “tax”). This word serves as 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”.
philately (countable and uncountable, plural philatelies)
- Stamp collecting.
- The study of postage stamps, postal routes, postal history, etc.
the study of postage stamps, postal routes, postal history, etc.