Meaning of MAIL in English


I. mail 1 S3 W3 /meɪl/ BrE AmE noun [uncountable]

[ Sense 1-3: Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: male 'bag' ]

[ Sense 4: Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: French ; Origin: maille , from Latin macula 'spot, woven threads' ]

1 . the letters and packages that are delivered to you:

You shouldn't read other people's mail.

He found a mountain of mail waiting for him.

She promised to forward my mail to my new address (=send it from your old home or office to your new one) .

He gets sacks of fan mail (=letters from people who admire him) .

hate mail (=letters from people who hate you)

2 . especially American English the system of collecting and delivering letters and packages SYN post British English :

The mail here’s really slow and unreliable.

The product will be sold mainly through the mail.

in the mail

I’ll put the check in the mail tomorrow.

by mail

Did you send the document by mail?

registered/express/first-class etc mail

I sent my application by registered mail.

Most reports are sent via internal mail (=a system of sending documents to people inside the same organization) .

3 . messages that are sent and received on a computer SYN email :

I check my mail a couple of times a day.

She's just received another mail message from them.

4 . ↑ armour made of small pieces of metal, worn by soldiers in the Middle Ages

⇨ ↑ voice mail

• • •


■ verbs

▪ send mail

Please do not send personal mail to my work address.

▪ get/receive mail

Did we get any mail this morning?

▪ the mail comes/arrives

The mail had come late that day.

▪ the mail goes (out) (=it leaves an organization to be sent)

What time does the mail go out?

▪ read your mail

The first thing he did was read his mail.

▪ open your mail

She opened her mail as she ate her breakfast.

▪ forward/redirect somebody's mail (=send it to a new address)

The post office will forward your mail for a limited time.

▪ deliver the mail

The postman had just delivered the mail.

▪ sort mail (=put it into different piles, ready for delivery)

Some mail still has to be sorted by hand.


▪ personal/private mail (=for one person to read and nobody else)

He accused her of reading his private mail.

▪ fan mail (=letters from fans)

He gets so much fan mail he had to employ a secretary to deal with it.

▪ hate mail (=letters expressing hate)

She got threatening phone calls and hate mail.

▪ junk mail (=letters, usually advertisements, that you do not want)

I only ever get junk mail and bills.

▪ registered mail (=letters insured against loss or damage)

You have to sign for registered mail.

II. mail 2 S3 BrE AmE verb [transitive] especially American English

1 . to send a letter or package to someone SYN post British English

mail something to somebody

The weekly newsletter is mailed to women all over the country.

2 . to send a document to someone using a computer SYN email

mail something to somebody

Can you mail it to me as an attachment?

mail something ↔ out phrasal verb

to send letters, packages etc to a lot of people at the same time SYN send out :

The department has just mailed out 300,000 notices.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.