Penpalling & Letters

Sunday, 4 April 2010

What is mail? Where does the word "mail" come from?

The word mail comes from the Medieval English word “male” (spelled that way until the 17th century), which was the term used to describe a traveling bag or pack. The French have a similar word, “malle” for a trunk or large box, and “mála” is the Irish for a bag. In the 1600s the word mail began to appear as a reference for a bag that contained letters: "bag full of letters" (1654). Over the next hundred years the word mail began to be applied strictly to the letters themselves, and the sack as the mailbag. In the 19th century the British usually referred to mail as being letters that were being sent abroad (i.e. on a ship), and post as letters that were for localized delivery. In the United Kingdom the Royal Mail delivers the post, while in the United States of America the US Postal Service delivers the mail. The term e-mail (short for "electronic mail") first appeared in 1982. The term snail-mail is a retronym that originated in 1983 to distinguish it from the quicker e-mail.

Mail or Post is a method to transmit information on written documents or other tangible objects which are usually enclosed in envelopes or packages. Mail is sent and delivered to destinations all around the world through the national Postal Systems of the countries involved in the sending.

Electronic mail, most commonly abbreviated email or e-mail, is a method of exchanging digital messages. E-mail systems are based on a store-and-fordward model in which e-mail server computer systems accept, forward, deliver and store messages on behalf of users. The user only needs to connect to the e-mail infrastructure, typically an e-mail server, with a network-enabled device for the duration of message submission or retrieval.

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