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Glossary


(See printer-friendly version for Vocabulary Activity.)

address | the number, street, city, and ZIP code on a letter that tell postal workers where to deliver it

bar code | tiny black lines representing the numbers in the ZIP code, found on the bottom of some envelopes

collection box | a large blue metal box where people place letters to be sent. Postal workers collect this mail at regularly scheduled times.

facer-canceller | a machine that turns letters so they are all facing the same way, prints postmarks, and cancels the stamps on each envelope

hamper | a canvas basket used to collect and sort mail

mail | letters, postcards, ads, magazines, and packages delivered to a certain address

mail clerk | a postal worker who sorts mail, sells stamps, and weighs packages

postage stamp | a rectangular sticker that you attach to the upper right corner of an envelope to pay for sending the letter. Stamps cost different prices because some mail costs more to send. There are interesting pictures on some stamps, which many collectors like to save.

postal scales | a machine clerks use to weigh mail to find out how much it will cost to send

postcard | a rectangular piece of heavy paper that can be mailed without an envelope. Postcards are usually smaller than a letter-size piece of paper (3" X 5" and 4" X 6" are common sizes) and less expensive to mail than letters.

postmark | a round circle to the left of the stamp showing when and where the letter was mailed

post office | a U.S. government building where mail is sorted and stamps are sold. Most post offices have an American flag out front.

route | the streets or roads where a particular letter carrier delivers the mail every day

rural mail carriers | postal workers who deliver mail in the country. They drive their own cars and put mail into mailboxes along the road.

sectional distribution center | a large Postal Service building where mail is sorted for smaller post offices

uniform | special clothes worn by workers who do a particular job, members of a team, or other groups of people. Letter carriers and postal clerks wear blue uniforms.

ZIP (Zone Improvement Program) code | numbers representing a location for mail delivery. The first three numbers indicate the section of the country and state; the next two numbers indicate which post office serves the delivery address.