Monday, 2 April 2012

Entry: philatelic (adj.)

In context: "(Pemulis owns stuff like philatelic forceps, a loupe, a pharmaceutical scale, a postal scale, a personal-size Bunsen burner)"

Definition: Of, relating to, or engaged in philately.  

Philately (n.): The collecting and study of postage stamps or other devices used for or relating to the prepayment of postal charges; stamp collecting.

Other:I was immediately wondering at the etymology of the philately/-ic/etc.  The description wasn't really making much sense to me until the very end - neat.

Etymology:  < French philatélie < philo- philo- comb. form + ancient Greek ἀτέλεια exemption from payment ( < ἀτελής free from tax or charge (also incomplete, imperfect: see atelo- comb. form) + -ία -y suffix3); compare ἐξ ἀτελείας without payment, free, franco. Proposed by M. Herpin, a postage-stamp collector, in Le Collectionneur de Timbres-poste (15 Nov. 1864).

Ancient Greek ἀτέλεια is used here to provide a Greek word to combine with French philo- philo- comb. form, which is ultimately of Greek origin. The underlying adjective ancient Greek ἀτελής is meant to convey the sense that the postage was already paid as a result of the purchase of the stamp; compare German Freimarke (1856 or earlier, now hist.), Swedish frimärke (1853), Italian francobollo (1850), all in sense ‘postage stamp’. Compare also the etymological note s.v. postage stamp n.

SNOOT score: 2

Source: Oxford English Dictionary

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