Postal-related dictionary and abbreviations (wiki)

I think one good use for wikis would be a dictionary of postal terms and abbreviation list of sorts, so I’ll start one here. Feel free to edit this post to add your terms by clicking the EDIT button at the bottom of the post.

Ad card: (Short for: Advertising Card) A postcard featuring advertisement to a product or service. Sometimes these are given away for free.

Ad card (an example)

Air Label: Blue stickers/labels used to identify mail that is to be sent by air mail.

Air Label (an example)

ATC: Artist Trade Card - miniature piece of art that are traded around the world, usually handmade, size 64 mm × 89 mm

B/E: Blank in Envelope

Cancellation mark or Postmark: The rubber stamp mark that post offices make on top of postage stamps, to acknowledge the payment of postage, and/or deface the stamp to prevent further use.

Cancellation mark (an example)


Commemorative stamp - A postage stamp, often issued on a significant date such as an anniversary, to honor or commemorate a place, event, person, or object.

CCUN - Chinese Characters Series Postcards by PostcardsMarket.

COTW - Countries of the World by Houseofpostcards.

Definitive stamp - A postage stamp that is part of the regular issue of a country’s stamps, available for sale by the post office for an extended period of time and designed to serve the everyday postal needs of the country.

FDC: First Day Cover, is a postage stamp on a cover, postal card or stamped envelope cancelled on the first day the issue is authorized for use.

FDC (an example)

FOTW: Flags of the World, a series of flag-themed postcards printed by PostcardsMarket.
FOTW - card

GF: Greetings From, a series of country-themed postcards printed by PostalLove.

HPC: Happy Postcrossing Card, a series of country-themed postcards printed by Papersisters.

International Reply Coupon: A coupon that can be exchanged for one or more postage stamps representing the minimum postage for an unregistered priority airmail letter of up to twenty grams sent to another Universal Postal Union (UPU) member country. IRCs are accepted by all UPU member countries.

Joint Issue: A related issue of a postage stamp in 2 countries simultaneously.

Joint issue stamps (example)

China-Liechtenstein joint issue stamps

selfprint, selfprinted - a postcard printed by the sender independently (i.e. not by a large printing house, not by a publishing house, etc.) There are many points of view regarding the definition of what exactly is a selfprint.

Same topic stamps:Stamps share the same topic(Olympic, Chinese lunar new year, etc.) issued in worldwide countries.

Same topic stamps (example)

COVID-19 stamps:


Prepaid postcard/cover - A postcard/cover with prepaid e-stamp.

Prepaid postcard/cover (example)

Prepaid postcard(Xinjiang is a beautiful place)

Prepaid cover(Height Measurement for Mount Qomolangma in 2020)

Postage Labels - A postage certificate printed by a postage machine marked with the name of the country, postage, and date of use. It has the same effect as a stamp and will not be cancelled after being pasted.

Postage Labels (example)

Year of Rat 2020 Postage Label(Macau SAR,China)

Postage Label(China)

PPC - Permanent Pictorial Cancellation, Postcard with Pictorial Postmark, it’s done in many countries like, Australia, India, Japan, China, etc.

PWE - Postcard World Explorer Series PostcardsMarket.

Large Letter/Big Letter Postcard - A postcard that has the name of a place shown as a series of very large letters, inside of each of which is a picture of that locale.

Maximum Card - A maximum card (also known as a maxi-card, or maxicard) is a postcard with a postage stamp placed on the picture side of the card where the stamp and card match or are in maximum similarity.The cancellation or postmark is usually related to the image on the front of the card and the stamp.

Maximum Card (an example)

Miniature sheet: A miniature sheet / souvenir sheet / minisheet is a small group of postage stamps still attached to the sheet on which they were printed. They are usually special issues commemorating an event or a theme.

Miniature sheet (an example)

Mint stamp: A stamp in its original state of issue, unused, and has never been mounted.

MOTW: Maps of the World-themed postcards printed by Postcardmarket.

MCPS - Map Cover on Postcard Series by PostcardBazaar.

Cinderella Stamp: Anything resembling a postage stamp, but not issued for postal purposes by a government postal administration. Also called artistamp (combination of “artist” and “stamp”).

Illegal Stamp: Postage stamp-like labels issued in the names of existing independent countries or territories, but was not produced or printed by the postal administration of that country. Illegal stamps are not valid for postage anywhere in the world.

Pillar box: The British name for their iconic street post boxes. This name is also used in some other countries.

SSTG - Stationery Shops Travel Guide postcards.

UPU: Universal Postal Union, a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system.

W/E: Written in Envelope

W/S: Written and Stamped

WordCloud Postcards - Postcard Series by Postcard Sisters.

WOW: What do you know about…, Cuisines of the World, Wonders of the World postcards printed by WOW-CARDS.

WPD: World Postcard Day. (It falls on 1st October of every year, see website.)

WT: World Travel, a series of country-themed postcards printed by Nisan.

NOTE: Don’t reply to this message — just edit the post directly, by clicking the Edit button on the bottom right corner. :slight_smile:


What’s FOWT stand for please


@holly2k10 Flags of the World postcard series, sold by PostcardsMarket.


I found this today in case anybody is curious about all the different names/abbreviations for the different kinds of streets in English:

Road — Anything that connects two points. RD
Way — A side street off a road. WAY
Street — A public way with buildings on both sides. These often run perpendicular to avenues. ST
Avenue — Also have trees or buildings on both sides. AVE
Boulevard — A wide street in a city with trees or greenery on both sides. There’s generally a median in the middle of a boulevard. BLVD
Lane — A narrow road, often in a rural area. LN
Drive — A winding road that has its route shaped by natural features such as a lake or mountain. DR
Terrace — A road that runs along the top of a slope. TER
Place — A road with no throughway. PL
Court — A road with no throughway that ends in a loop or cul-de-sac. CT
Plaza or Square — An open public space that’s surrounded by businesses or streets. SQ


That’s cool. Why do they drive on the left of the road?

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So says Google: " The practice is believed to date back to ancient Rome. Romans steered their carts and chariots with the left hand, to free up the right so they could use weapons to defend against enemy attacks . This carried over into medieval Europe and in 1773, the British government passed measures to make left-hand traffic the law."


And why Americans drive on the right: "In the US, right-hand traffic goes back to the 18th century. Freight wagons were pulled by teams of horses. and the drivers rode on the left rear horse, using their right hand to more easily control the team. Traffic shifted to the right so drivers could easily avoid collisions ".


Wow. So cool. I’m right handed, but if i wanted to be able to use my less dominant hand for races, throwing weapons etc i can see why the practicality of driving on the left‼️

Thank you :relaxed:


I have seen two abbreviations /jargons and maybe so one learnerd can give me a clue to meanings please

The first is CC! What does the abbreviation in postcard swapping terms mean?

The second seems obvious “swap slowly” but is there other connotations / meaning behind this. When they say it does it mean their being Picky of an offer or a swap or is it exactly as it says in the tin… They just taking time to write a card

Usually I try and get write, prove and post a swap card between the 3 and 5 days is that slowly? I or is slowly longer??

Thanks in advance

Jaggy / Craig

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I believe this means Chain Card. This site may give clearer explanation

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The site does not exist anymore.

CC is a chain card. This card is send from country to country by members of the chain. Usually such card has a certain topic for the stamp. And in the end it looks like this:

While sending such postcard, usually you tape a piece of paper over the back of your card and cutout spots so only your stamps are showing. This protects the other stamps on your card and makes it less confusing for the post office.

If you need to add extra stamps for postage, you add them onto the paper covering the postcard to protect it, so the extra stamps stay off the actual card.


Thank you for sharing.

What is the name of the British postcard series which look like this?


These are PHQ cards - PHQ stands for Postal Headquarters

This particular card belongs to the 2022 series

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What does w/s mean? I was told it means with stamps, so does that mean send a post card, but don’t write anything or send it with writing and stamps?

It means written and stamped, so you are asked to send a card without an envelope, write on it and use stamps.


Hello! Tell me what w/s or b/e or w/e means?

W/S: written and stamped
B/E: blank in envelope
W/E: Written in envelope

@Polly21 Welcome to the forum!


Thank you