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What is the antonym (opposite) of “email” to refer clearly to "traditional mail" and not to email?

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    These are not "opposites". Is a bus the opposite of a car? How do we refer to mail that is sent via the postal service and delivered by a human being? Nov 20, 2018 at 13:18
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    You should state your context. Are you looking for an informal term or a formal term? Nov 20, 2018 at 13:25
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    That's an alternative, not an antonym.
    – user3169
    Nov 20, 2018 at 22:00

3 Answers 3

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The Wikipedia entry for Mail has a few possible terms you could consider.

As an AmE speaker, I use the term postal mail to clarify that I'm speaking about physical letters and not electronic messages.

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What about snail mail?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary

snail mail [informal humorous]

letters or messages that are not sent by email, but in the post

As pointed by Tᴚoɯɐuo, notice that this term is informal and mildly derogatory.

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    It should be pointed out that this is an informal, mildly derogatory term. A law firm, say, wouldn't ask you to send them a duly signed document "via snail mail". Nov 20, 2018 at 13:21
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo You're right. I've updated my answer to highlight that point. Thanks!
    – RubioRic
    Nov 20, 2018 at 13:38
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    A more formal term for snail mail is letter mail. Or just by mail or by letter. Nov 20, 2018 at 14:57
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While I agree with snail mail, an alternative when referring to large amounts of data is sneaker net. Rather than sending the data electronically, the data is copied to a disk or other medium and physically transported (presumably by someone wearing sneakers).

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  • This is valid in a specific context, one which only a very small percentage of people will ever face. I don't think OP is talking about this, just traditional delivery of mail as compared with electronic delivery of mail.
    – Andrew
    Nov 21, 2018 at 16:17

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