One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A postage stamp that has been cancelled prior to being used on an item of mail, often to facilitate bulk mailing.
1with object Philately. To cancel (a postage stamp) by means of a frank ahead of its use, often to facilitate bulk mailing.
2with object To cancel beforehand; to cancel giving prior notice.
Early 20th century. Apparently shortened from precancellation, probably originally as a graphic abbreviation<br>early 20th century; earliest use found in Conditions Use of Precanceled Postage Stamps. From pre- + cancel.
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