MA Dictionary

Please, don't take this too seriously... 

If you are looking for a normal dictionary of postal terms, take a look here or here.
For postcards, you can find this glossary useful. 
Here you will find more postal lingo in USPS postal plants.


It is a thin lightweight piece of foldable and gummed paper for writing a letter for transit via airmail, in which the letter and envelope are one and the same. Most aerograms have an imprinted stamp indicating the prepayment of postage.

Any envelope containing a damage mail item, and including an apology from the postal services. Like this one.

They are small works of art of 64 x 89 mm, usually traded or exchanged. They are a sample, a business card and a collector's item at the same time.
The techniques and materials are infinite, including dry media (pencils, pen markers...), wet media (watercolour, acrylic...), paper media (collage, paper cuts, found objects...) or even metals or fabric.
They are signed and on the back they include a title, a reference number, the completion date, the name and the address of the artist.
My ATCs: 1, 2, 3.

A chain card (or chain postcard) is a postcard that travels to different people. Each of them sticks stamps about a previously agreed theme, erase the address (or cover it), and then sends it to the next person in the chain. Eventually, the card makes it back to the first sender.

The confetti letter is written on several small sheets of paper. Each contains an independent thought or paragraph. So there is no beginning or end, no page numbers, no defined order. The idea is to create a unique experience for the reader. In theory, the letter will never be read the same twice. (Taken from here).

It is like a box of chocolates: "... an assortment of delicate top-quality ingredients".

Postcard showing a cow or some cow-related items. They are important if you are involved in projects like VQR Postcard Project. Do not forget to check the meaning of cowstamp!

A letter ending a relationship. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the term probably originated during World War II and referred to letters from wives and sweethearts announcing the relationship was over.

According to the Collins Concise English Dictionary, an envelope is "a flat covering of paper, usually rectangular in shape and with a flap that can be folded over and sealed, used to enclose a letter, etc". And a cover is "an envelope or package for sending through the post or "an entire envelope that has been postmarked".

So, if I understand, you can take any boring envelope (with all its parts!) and, with the help of the post office, you turn it into a sweet message-carrying cover!

To lash out violently and at random, often in a blind rage. Term taken from the 1990's incidents of workplace violence involving US Postal System workers. I was so angry at work with the new workload, I was afraid I'd go postal. (Taken from Urban Dictionary. More information about this term here.)

General-President: Ruud Jansen (But I am not in control of the Union. I just invented it.)
In 1988 the idea of the IUOMA was born.[...] Even today, people still join the Union.  
Somehow people always think that if a group of artists work together that then there must automatically be some kind of organisation that coordinates it all. Well, in mail art there are many groups working together. These groups themselves also work together, but there is NO organisation that arranges all the things that go on in the mail art network. The I.U.O.M.A. is the Union that mail artists can become a member of. The Union has no rules. Everybody who is active in mail art and hears about the Union can become a member just by saying so.)

Split your message in different letters/envelopes. Send it (if possible, from different countries). Trust that all the postal services involved will work well. Examples: 1 (from different countries), 2 (from the USA).

Drawing by Heleen
(See: What makes a letter? Not necessarily paper, by Grace Aldridge Foster)

It's a letter you sent in order to be opened on an specific day in the future (for example this or this or this...). You need to know how the postal services work and calculate the travelling time. When it arrives late it's disappointing. But waiting too much before opening could drive the recipient mad. The Open When letters are a variation of this concept.

/ˈlɛtədrʌŋk/ -adj. the giddy feeling experienced when in receipt of a lovely letter. (origin: from the practice of letter writing).
(From @letterappsoc)

The rules you need to know before starting to write letters.
There are mainly two rules: a) Be kind and respectful; and b) To get a letter, write a letter.

Come on, don't be silly. You know exactly where to post and find your letters, don't you?

This is a postcard with a postage stamp placed on the picture side of the card where the stamp and card are in concordance (sometimes it is the same image in both). Examples: 1, 2, 3, 4...
(And there are also almost-maxicards like this one).

In the postal collectors argot, those postcards that show several similar things gathered (for instance). Possibilities are infinite!

NAKED MAIL or TTPO ('Torture The Post Office')
Mail sent without any wrapping.
There was an Englishman who deserves the title King of the TTPO.

Go through smoothly, go off without a hitch, to be accepted without any questions.

«Finding timbromanie a somewhat pejorative term, George Herpin, a French collector, coined the word 'philately' around 1862. Herpin put two Greek words together (philos + atelia) which combined meant a love of not being taxed, a reference to the innovation of pre-payment.»

Helen Morgan, Blue Mauritius: The Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Stamps

It's a project that consists in sending a postcard and receiving one postcard back from a random postcrosser from somewhere in the world. One postcard is just the beginning, because the most probably is that you get hooked almost instantly and want send more and more postcards. So I advise you not to enter this site.
(Ok, then don't say I didn't warn you.)

It seems that envelope, at lest initially, had nothing to do with the mail word: read here about the origin. 
To attempt to extend the current limits of performance. To innovate, or go beyond commonly accepted boundaries. (The Phrase Finder) / To push it to the limit, to see how far you can go with something without getting caught (Urban Dictionary).

Postcard that we have (or have seen) twice, the second time turned the other way round. Like this one, for instance.

A Russian doll letter is a letter inside a letter inside a letter inside a letter... like this or this or this, for instance.

A semi-postal stamp, also known as a charity stamp, is a postage stamp issued to raise money for a particular purpose (such as a charitable cause) and sold at a premium over the postal value.

'Caught with your beard in the mail box'. Meaning: 'To be caught with your pants down."

Who decide to spend all their money buying stamps without realising they could buy a Ferrari instead. Like me.

When you smile because of snail mail, you are sniling!

It consists on taking a picture of a stamp in front of the motive (place, building, person, event, animal, plant, etc.) it features. The hashtag was first used by @ExploringStamps back in 2017, and it is used now for philatelists around the world. 

This was my first attempt.


  1. IUOMA = International Union of Mail-Artists (see:

    1. The MA Dictionary is a work in progress... I'm constantly adding new words!

  2. I particularly love the definition of snail-mailer.

    1. I guess it can apply also to you,can't it? :DDD

    2. And what about the Dear John letters?


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