Definition of postal service noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


    postal service

    BrE BrE//ˈpəʊstl sɜːvɪs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈpoʊstl sɜːrvɪs//
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  1. 1a system of collecting and delivering letters, etc. a good postal service
  2. 2the Postal Service (US English) (British English the Post Office) the national organization in many countries that is responsible for collecting and delivering letters, etc.
  3. Culturepostal servicesMost letters and packages posted in Britain are dealt with by the Royal Mail, which is part of the Royal Mail Group Ltd. and Parcelforce (also part of the Royal Mail Group Ltd.), which delivers larger packages. The Post Office manages the country's many post offices. In 2013, the Royal Mail was privatized(= sold by the government) and shares in it were traded on the Stock Exchange. As well as selling stamps, post offices take in letters and packages that are to be sent by special delivery. Post offices also sell vehicle licences and foreign currency. Small post offices are now often based in a newsagent's or other shop, rather than being in separate buildings. In recent years, many smaller post offices have been closed because they do not make a profit, though this often led to protests from local people.Mail is often called post in British English. When sending a letter, people can choose between two levels of service, first class or the cheaper second class. Normally, first-class mail is delivered the day after it is posted and second-class mail within two or three days. Every address in Britain includes a postcode of letters and numbers, for example OX1 2PX for an address in Oxford, that makes it possible to sort the post by machine. Letters are posted in red postboxes, also called letter boxes. Each has a sign giving times of collections. Postmen and women deliver mail each day direct to homes and businesses. They put the mail through a flap in the door, which is also called a letter box. In the country they travel round in red vans, but in towns and villages they often ride bicycles.The system that deals with mail in the US, the US Postal Service (USPS), is an independent part of the government. Its head is the Postmaster General. Mail carriers, sometimes called mailmen though many are women, deliver mail to homes and businesses once a day. Most homes have mailboxes (= small boxes where letters can be put) fixed outside, near the door. It is very uncommon for a house to have a letter box in the door for letters. People whose houses are a long way from the road have a special rural mailbox by the road. This has a flag which the mail carrier raises so that the people in the house can see when they have mail. To mail (= send) a letter, people leave it on top of their own mailbox or put it in one of the many blue mailboxes in cities and towns. Every address in the US includes an abbreviation for the name of the state and a ZIP code, which is used to help sort the mail. Post offices sell stamps and deal with mail that has to be insured. Most cities have one post office which stays open late. Americans complain about the Postal Service, but it usually does an efficient job at a reasonable price.In the US only Postal Service can deliver mail to letter boxes and the Service has a monopoly on first-class mail that is not urgent.In Britain the post office lost its monopoly on delivery of post in 2006. In both countries there are many companies who provide courier and messenger services for urgent mail. The largest of these include FedEx and DHL. In Britain private companies may also deliver mail to letter boxes.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: postal service