Definition of philately in English:



mass noun
  • The collection and study of postage stamps.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, he rues that the increased denomination of stamps has now made philately an expensive proposition.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In an effort to popularise philately, the bureau has made provisions for a thematic display of stamps of members of the club.’


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.