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[mass noun] The collection and study of postage stamps.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘In an effort to popularise philately, the bureau has made provisions for a thematic display of stamps of members of the club.’
- ‘However, he rues that the increased denomination of stamps has now made philately an expensive proposition.’
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.
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