"writing paper, envelopes, etc.," 1727, from stationery wares (c. 1680) "articles sold by a stationer," from stationer "seller of books and paper" (q.v.) + -y (1). The spelling distinction from stationary is purely etymological, though convenient in print. Stationery department is attested by 1813 in reference to government; by 1831 in reference to printing shops and other commercial operations.
updated on November 29, 2022