direction on mail that it be held at that post office until called for, French, literally "remaining post." Hence, place in a post office where letters so addressed are kept until the recipients call for them.
"station when on duty, a fixed position or place," 1590s, from French poste "place where one is stationed," also, "station for post horses" (16c.), from Italian posto "post, station," from Vulgar Latin *postum, from Latin positum, neuter past participle of ponere "to place, to put" (see position (n.)). Earliest sense in English was military; the meaning "job, position, position" is attested by 1690s. The military meaning "fort, permanent quarters for troops" is by 1703.
[mail system] c. 1500, "riders and horses posted at intervals," to provide direct and rapid communication of messages and letters from one place to another by relays, from post (n.2) on notion of riders and horses "posted" at intervals along a route. Probably formed on model of French poste in this sense (late 15c.).
The meaning "system for the conveyance of letters" is from 1660s; it is attested from 1590s in the sense of "vehicle used to convey mails;" 1670s as "a dispatch of letters from or to a place." As a newspaper name from 1680s.
"stamp-collecting, the fancy for collecting and classifying postage-stamps and revenue stamps," 1865, from French philatélie, coined by French stamp collector Georges Herpin (in "Le Collectionneur de Timbres-poste," Nov. 15, 1864), from Greek phil- "loving" (see philo-) + atelēs "free from tax or charge," which was the ancient Greek word Herpin found that most nearly matched the concept of what a postage stamp does (from a- "without," see a- (3), + telos "tax;" see toll (n.)).
It is a reminder of the original function of postage stamps: the cost of letter-carrying formerly was paid by the recipient; a stamp indicated that carriage had been pre-paid by the sender, thus indicating to the recipient's postmaster that the letter so stamped was "carriage-free."
It is a pity that for one of the most popular scientific pursuits one of the least popularly intelligible names should have been found. [Fowler]
Stampomania (1865) also was tried. Stamp-collecting is from 1862. Related: Philatelic; philatelism; philatelist.