Definition of email in US English:


(also e-mail)


  • 1Messages distributed by electronic means from one computer user to one or more recipients via a network.

    ‘reading email has become the first task of the morning’
    as modifier ‘email messages’
    • ‘Enclosures work like attachments to e-mail messages.’
    • ‘Some people were even using a second application to read email.’
    • ‘A user downloads e-mail messages from a server to the client device.’
    • ‘Do not waste time deleting email messages individually; that can take all day.’
    • ‘It's silly that a guy who consumes a terabyte of data a month gets the same service for the same price as someone who just wants to read email and surf the web.’
    • ‘I wanted to check my email on my computer at home.’
    • ‘After a week without checking my email, text messaging, or hearing the ringtone of my phone, I am beginning to settle into a steady state of calm.’
    • ‘I don't read email very often.’
    • ‘I was deleting e-mail from my phone.’
    • ‘In Sept. of 2000, the ratio of viruses to e-mail messages in the United States was one virus per every 1,400 e-mails.’
    communication, piece of information, news, word, note, memorandum, memo, posting, tweet, letter, line, missive, report, bulletin, communiqué, dispatch, intelligence, notification, announcement
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The system of sending messages by electronic means from one computer to another.
      ‘a contract communicated by email’
      • ‘There are two strands of idealism that present an obstacle to fixing our broken internet email system, and this is one of them.’
      • ‘The only catch here is you are sending the means to access your system via e-mail during that one hour period.’
      • ‘Now most work is accomplished via Internet meetings, video teleconferences, e-mail, and other electronic media.’
      • ‘The system would be tied together by phone, e-mail, and Internet messaging.’
      • ‘Known as SoBig.F, the new variant behaves much like its older siblings, infecting Windows machines via e-mail and sending out dozens of copies of itself.’
      • ‘Inside, the rooms feature an on-command TV system with e-mail and internet access.’
      • ‘Increasingly, it appears that to master spam and reclaim electronic mail as a trusted communications medium, the entire e-mail system must be rethought.’
      • ‘How about sending sensitive documents over e-mail without encryption?’
      • ‘A custom-built solar system will charge all their electronic communications, including internet, e-mail and satellite telephone services.’
      • ‘The service allows you to send and receive information to and from any number of mobile phones from e-mail systems, internet web pages, intranet web pages and databases.’
      • ‘The topic of sending attachments by e-mail is not one that is discussed as much as it probably should be.’
      • ‘Communications are now immediate through e-mail, phone and video applications.’
      • ‘Traut said though this is not the way the phones where designed to be used, sending pictures via e-mail is cheaper.’
      • ‘It highlights how to detect intrusions and how to secure file systems, e-mail, web servers and other key applications.’
      • ‘The Washington University mission control centre will monitor the flight and weather and regularly communicate with Fossett via e-mail and satellite phone.’
      • ‘While a majority of aerospace companies have traditional IT systems, e-mail and a Web site, only a few have begun to address the issues associated with adopting Web-enabled ebusiness.’
    2. 1.2 A message sent by email.
      ‘I got three emails from my mother today’
      • ‘She quickly scanned through the emails from computer forum geeks, fans and people asking for advice.’
      • ‘She has received thousands of emails, half from women, half from men.’
      • ‘It promises integrated search across desktop files, emails and shared network files.’
      • ‘He said the audit was prompted by a concern about the number of viruses and suspicious emails appearing on computers.’
      • ‘If users open the emails, and then click on the links they may find their computers are compromised.’
      • ‘What on earth possessed me to read through those old emails?’
      • ‘And the messages of support are still coming, in the form of letters, emails and texts.’
      • ‘I gave up, connected the computer and sent emails to all my US friends, praying they were okay and asking them to get in touch.’
      • ‘He agreed to discuss his Hall of Fame ballot with me in a series of emails and instant messages.’
      • ‘Hoaxes often ask you to avoid reading or downloading emails that have a particular subject line.’
      • ‘Estimates as to the actual number of users who received the unsolicited emails run in the tens of millions, it says.’
      • ‘I have received many, many emails from users looking for them and wanting to know if they are still available.’
      • ‘Even when the recipient can review blocked emails, in many cases, they simply choose not to.’
      • ‘Blaire has received thousands of emails, most of which applaud her proactive attitude.’
      • ‘She was already awake when he got up, sitting at her desk and typing emails on the computer.’


[with object]
  • 1Send an email to (someone)

    ‘you can email me at my normal address’
    • ‘Instead, he assured us that BTopenworld would start phoning and emailing those people this week to see if they are still interested in signing up.’
    • ‘You can log any intrusion attempts and the modem can apparently even email you an alert.’
    • ‘This will eliminate the need for e-mailing us or faxing the information to our reservations office and it will most definitely make the process more efficient, she said.’
    • ‘The right to e-mail a person will become a cherished privilege.’
    • ‘I've had a few people email me and tell me that their virus scanners caused the mouse to stop functioning.’
    • ‘Feel free to email me instead, particularly if you want to tell me nice things.’
    • ‘It seems the council is miffed that so much of its IT resource is used up by people emailing their friends.’
    • ‘Feel free to email me if you want more specifics about our attempts to find my father.’
    • ‘I emailed the person who started that particular chain and told her the facts and to quit the hype.’
    • ‘If you are interested in being a sponsor or a case study, please email me and I will send you a prospectus.’
    • ‘We have e-mailed the person who manages these sites - twice in fact - but so far have not been graced with a reply.’
    • ‘If any of you are single, eligible women who would like to meet Mark in person, please feel free to e-mail me with a short paragraph describing yourself, and I'll be happy to forward it on to Mark.’
    • ‘The next time the person emails me again, it goes directly into my Deleted Items folder.’
    • ‘It's free, and it promises to e-mail you regarding the latest threats to your PC.’
    • ‘If a transaction comes up with an invalid response, the company has the choice of either not fulfilling the order or telephoning or e-mailing the user to ask him to submit an alternative form of payment.’
    • ‘I can see that people are going to email me telling me that I just don't get it.’
    • ‘If you have a comment, or a suggestion on how I can improve please feel free to email me.’
    • ‘Okay, if you have any ideas for my story feel free to email me or review them to me.’
    • ‘And to all my law enforcement and Department of Homeland Security readers, feel free to e-mail me your catch-and-release photos or horror stories.’
    • ‘If you have a keen interest in this subject please feel free to email me with your thoughts.’
    transmit, convey, communicate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Send (a message) by email.
      ‘employees can email the results back’
      • ‘She asked whether it would be OK to e-mail supportive messages to Jeff in Iraq.’
      • ‘It is claimed that the suspect spread the Trojan horse by emailing thousands of messages that promised job offers.’
      • ‘When we e-mail a message we don't speak on the telephone.’
      • ‘At least that's what I assumed when I found a site that lets you e-mail loving messages to friends and family after you ‘pass.’’
      • ‘This means that you have tried calling the seller and his or her phone number doesn't work, or you have tried emailing a message to the seller and it comes back undeliverable.’
      • ‘You can start today by e-mailing a quick message to 5 friends about John McCain and his reform message.’
      • ‘PETA have retaliated by emailing the banned advert to hundreds of radio stations nationwide.’
      • ‘I am emailing this message to 500,000 defenders and other activists.’
      • ‘Now the company says that real estate advertisers will have to email their ads directly.’
      • ‘A further 25,000 people have e-mailed their photographs and messages of support to Londoners.’


1970s: abbreviation of electronic mail.