Main definitions of mail in English

: mail1mail2

mail1

noun

  • 1[mass noun] Letters and parcels sent by post.

    ‘I did not receive any mail’
    • ‘Maff advises drivers to provide an alternative delivery point, such as a post box, at the farm boundary or make alternative arrangements to collect mail from the post office.’
    • ‘Canada Post still delivers unsolicited mail, but only those with the name and address of the occupant on them.’
    • ‘It seems the company's decision to scrap the second post and deliver all mail in one round has crippled deliveries.’
    • ‘The Royal Mail is currently in negotiations with other firms such as TPG and Deutsche Post to deliver their mail.’
    • ‘Many surveys have shown that most people actually like to receive direct mail.’
    • ‘Buckingham Palace revealed that the Queen now sends second class mail when correspondence is not urgent.’
    • ‘On another day he also picked up some of our mail from the post office.’
    • ‘We expect the majority of our retail outlets will be open as usual and we will be giving priority to delivering express post and mail to post office boxes.’
    • ‘"I opened my junk mail then came to the gas bill, " she said.’
    • ‘It is best to deposit outgoing mail at the post office rather than your mailbox.’
    • ‘He could not compel any customer to accept a roadside letter box but anyone who didn't agree to the new arrangement would have to collect their mail from their nearest post office.’
    • ‘As there was a fear that letters may be intercepted, all mail was sent to her maid who did not live in the palace, before they were hand delivered to the Queen.’
    • ‘In front of our house is a seldom-used mailbox, because we receive our mail at a post office box in town.’
    • ‘If you're traveling during the holidays, arrange for someone to pick up your mail or have your mail held at the post office.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They left no forwarding address with me and though the Post Office redirected their mail for a bit, this has now stopped.’
    • ‘It was the end of an era when Seamus Rogers despatched the last mail from the Post Office in Brize.’
    • ‘The new services, however, will not include travelling post offices to sort mail and are a fraction of the 60 nightly trains that ran two years ago.’
    • ‘A few years later, mail vans were used to collect mail from post boxes and delivered to the stations.’
    1. 1.1North American, West Indian The postal system.
      ‘you can order by mail’
      • ‘The $100 fee would have to be paid in American dollars by mail with a check or money order, or with a credit card online.’
      • ‘A mail train chugged along on a parallel track to her left but soon disappeared into a tunnel.’
      • ‘If you can't pay a visit but want to try some artisan cheeses, the cheeseries will let you order products either by mail or on-line.’
      • ‘Test grades and certificates for accreditation were returned to us by mail.’
      • ‘‘People often go out of their way to stop by and chat, instead of dealing with us by mail or telephone,’ says Spahr.’
      • ‘Workers will vote by mail ballot some time next month.’
      • ‘We sent all of the questionnaires by mail with a postage-paid return envelope.’
      • ‘The Admiralty had arranged for the carriage of mails by Churchward, but the continuation of the agreement depended on the availability of a sum of £18,000.’
      • ‘Beginning in 1838, the federal government transferred the mails from stagecoaches to railroads.’
      • ‘Control participants contacted by mail indicated their willingness to participate by returning an enclosed screening questionnaire.’
      • ‘Parents recorded redness, swelling and tenderness for three days following injection and returned the results by mail.’
      • ‘On completion, the surveys were immediately placed in sealed envelopes before being returned by mail to the first author.’
      • ‘The patients were surveyed by mail or by follow-up telephone calls.’
      • ‘A hand delivered message was more likely to be read, or at least placed at the top of the pile, than a similar letter sent by mail.’
      • ‘Of these hotels, the best is the tiny Splendido Mare, which started life as a hostel in the early 1900s to look after travellers arriving by mail coach in urgent need of food and a bed for the night.’
      • ‘On Friday, the packages were put in the mail for Monday delivery.’
      • ‘The experts received a draft of the survey questionnaire to critique and suggested changes either by mail or telephone.’
      • ‘Buy dormant tubers in winter, either by mail from a specialty nursery or from a nursery or garden center.’
      • ‘The print material is sent via first-class mail the same day the video is sent via third-class mail.’
      • ‘A cooperative's entire membership can function as a virtual nominating committee by soliciting nominations by mail, or via a newsletter.’
    2. 1.2[in singular]A single delivery or collection of mail.
      ‘I had a notice in by this morning's mail’
      • ‘Yesterday's mail alone brought 2 manuscripts for endorsement - and I plan to endorse both.’
      • ‘Vanities arrive by the cartful for her every morning with the mail.’
      • ‘Someone ruffles through today's mail; someone else drops a CD player.’
      • ‘Today started with the mail: another rejection for my book proposal.’
      • ‘Today the mail brought a puffy package from the eastern Seaboard; inside were two books by Patch Adams.’
      • ‘The butler showed up carrying yesterday's mail and the newspaper of today.’
      • ‘Every morning, I nervously check the mail, every morning, my heart misses a beat.’
      • ‘Looking at the mess on the desk, he noticed today's mail.’
      • ‘Five days later, when Sanura walked down the path to the road and the mailbox, she smiled at the paper that had been delivered with the mail.’
      • ‘He sat at the kitchen table and poked at yesterday's mail with one finger.’
    3. 1.3Email.
      ‘you've got mail’
      • ‘This piece of software is like a border security guard, sitting between your email software and your incoming mail.’
      • ‘The virus, thought to have originated in the US, gets into email address books and sends multiple junk mails to each new address it finds while also infiltrating that new address to use any other addresses it opens up.’
      • ‘I use a laptop with Linux, and I don't want people reading my mail if the laptop falls into the wrong hands.’
      • ‘He thought as long as he signed on to the internet he would have mail waiting for him.’
      • ‘Once you combine encrypted mail with free Web storage space, you have the same functionality that a virtual safe-deposit box offers, for free.’
    4. 1.4dated [count noun]A vehicle, such as a train, carrying mail.
    5. 1.5archaic [count noun]A bag of letters to be sent by post.
    6. 1.6[in names]Used in titles of newspapers.
      ‘the Daily Mail’
      • ‘The Mail's position is that, given that he is bringing a civil action, his identity is public.’
      • ‘What drives The Mail on Sunday to follow Oxford gossip with such enthusiasm?’
      • ‘The Sunday Mail won the best sports coverage, while best features was Sunday Times Scotland.’
      • ‘The Mail chased up the story, but for whatever reason decided not to run it.’
      • ‘We read in Press Gazette that Alan Bennett is taking up the post of deputy editor of the Western Mail.’
      • ‘I should know better than to actually read the Western Mail, rather than just buying it for jobs.’
      • ‘Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips has begun a blog-style diary at her website.’
      • ‘When I was growing up, the papers I had most access to were The Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday.’
      • ‘I've just been down to Shotley village stores for a copy of the Mail on Sunday.’
      • ‘The debt discussion isn't confined to bastions of Middle England such as the Mail and Express.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Send (a letter or parcel) by post.

    ‘three editions were mailed to our members’
    • ‘Yeah, the postmark definitely can trace to the post office where they mailed the letter.’
    • ‘They drove to the post office to mail the letter in case someone found it before it could be posted.’
    • ‘School administrators mailed letters to all parents of seventh graders describing the project.’
    • ‘One can grab a bite at one of the many food outlets, shop for memories at souvenir stalls and mail a letter from the tiny post office.’
    • ‘She walked to the post office, where she bought a money order, and mailed the letter.’
    • ‘As a first point of contact, the project director mailed a letter briefly describing the project to potential participants.’
    • ‘I don't know why people sell perfectly good stamps below face value when you can always use them to mail letters.’
    • ‘The next day, he had two errands to run - one was to the post office to mail Laurie's letter.’
    • ‘Josh is running at top speed to get to the post office in order to mail a letter for Kathy.’
    • ‘Postal patrons also must complete customs forms and declarations pertaining to the contents of parcels being mailed.’
    • ‘The completed ballot paper is then mailed back in a numbered envelope placed in another envelope.’
    • ‘The children continued to share stories about times when they mailed a letter with their parents, or when they actually went to the post office.’
    • ‘They make money not on stamps, but on the newspapers and candy bars that customers buy when they come in to mail a letter.’
    • ‘The cost of mailing a letter will not change until 2006.’
    • ‘Ask a 12-year-old when she last mailed a letter to Aunt Minnie and you're likely to get a blank stare.’
    • ‘After I had mailed the letter Shawn and I started to head back home.’
    • ‘Opportunity is a nice place to stop and stretch - a great name for a town and a great place to mail a letter or postcard.’
    • ‘Some of them will even write indignant ‘I'll never buy your product again’ letters and then, on their way home from mailing the letter, stop off and pick up the product.’
    • ‘The stamps can then be used as postage from any Netherland Antilles port or onboard ship to mail a letter anywhere in the world.’
    • ‘Donors were supplied with polling information; we mailed certified letters and express mail packages as well as highly personal appeals from Jim and his family.’
    send, post, send by mail, send by post, dispatch, direct, forward, remit, transmit, email, airmail
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Send (someone) email.
      ‘his site is OK and I can even mail him direct’
      • ‘This is not really a question, but I can't seem to find an email address anywhere on this page to mail you with.’
      • ‘Theorton checked his e-mail later to find that Henry had mailed him back.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So for example, if a friend (we'll call her Sally) mails you a jpeg as an email attachment, it will store this relationship.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

mail

/meɪl/

Main definitions of mail in English

: mail1mail2

mail2

noun

historical
  • 1[mass noun] Armour made of metal rings or plates joined together flexibly.

    ‘a coat of mail’
    [as modifier] ‘he had a mail shirt’
    • ‘They all wore the battle armour they brought with them; steel plate mail with high, circular collars and round shoulder pieces.’
    • ‘At the head of the precision was a man clad entirely in gold plate mail with a crimson cape flung around his shoulders.’
    • ‘Chain mail alternated with steel plates that had been bent around the knight seamlessly so as not to impede his movement.’
    • ‘The twenty-five or so remaining Crimson Knights donned their plate mail and readied their weapons.’
    • ‘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.’
    armour, coat of mail, chain mail, chain armour
    brigandine, hauberk, byrnie, habergeon, camail
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The protective shell or scales of certain animals.
      • ‘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]
  • Clothe or cover with mail.

    ‘a mailed gauntlet’
    • ‘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.’

Phrases

  • the mailed fist

    • The use of physical force to maintain control.

      ‘the country's leadership has shown its continued reliance on the mailed fist’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In 1992, the squadron's insignia was officially changed from the Green Pawn to the mailed fist and lighting bolt previously used by Attack Squadron 176.’
      • ‘Inside the velvet glove is always 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.’
      • ‘Soft talk or big stick, carrot and stick, accept the velvet glove or face the mailed fist.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

mail

/meɪl/