‘Mail’ and ‘male’

This week marks a return to homophones. I find that male is occasionally used when mail would be appropriate. I have borrowed one of the definitions below because I don’t think I can explain it more succinctly.

Post boxMail

  • letters and parcels etc. sent by post
  • to send something by post
  • flexible armour made of metal rings, links or plates

Male

  • ‘of or denoting the sex that produces gametes, especially spermatozoa, with which a female may be fertilized or inseminated to produce offspring’ (Oxford Dictionaries)
  • a male person, plant or animal

Mail is also sometimes used as a short form of email. Unfortunately, I don’t have a simple tip to help anyone who might struggle to use mail and male correctly; if you have a suggestion for a memory aid, please share it below!


Sources:

  • Collins English Dictionary
  • Oxford Dictionaries Online
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3 thoughts on “‘Mail’ and ‘male’

  1. This reminds me….
    Coming from the 1950s and referring back to a story from my father in the 1940s.
    During WWII British people were supplied with a leaflet with advice on how to spot deserters from the US armed forces; it was claimed these men would use the word ‘Mail’ instead of ‘Post’. (and also ‘Radio’ instead of ‘Wireless’)
    It’s fascinating how language morphs, adapts and evolves down the years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’d love to have a look at that leaflet – I have a vague recollection of a few things like that on exhibition at one of the Imperial War Museums. Yes, it’s interesting that British people are still likely to say post but very unlikely to say wireless!

      Liked by 1 person

      • With Social Media being what it is, I’m now tempted to try and bring ‘wireless’ back; it has a certain class to it.

        Like

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