I am looking for a word to identify a room which exists in every institute or office, that receives/sends/distribute the letters that go through the office. Usually they stamp and number the received and sent letters. Google translator suggests the word SECRETARIAT.

Does that make sense?
Also, I want to find the English name of this room for an army headquarters.

Should I say, secretariat of headquarters or Command secretariat ?

  • Most American military bases/posts will simply have a base post office, similar to any city's post office. The Pentagon, for example has its own post office and six zip codes.
    – Catija
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 20:38
  • Just to be clear — you are asking about the place that handles the envelopes and packages, and not the place where they write and read a lot of letters? Commented May 21, 2015 at 1:17

5 Answers 5


I suggest mailroom or post room (see relevant Wikipedia article):

A mailroom or post room (UK) is a room in which incoming and outgoing mail is processed and sorted. Mailrooms are commonly found in schools, offices, apartment buildings, and the generic post office. [...] In a large organization, the mailroom is the central hub of the internal mail system and the interface with external mail.

  • Maybe I am not aware of a secretariat duties. Would you please describe what tasks are dedicated to a secretariat? @saintjules
    – SAH
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 16:56
  • so should I say Command mailroom? or headquarters mailroom? @saintjules
    – SAH
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 17:51
  • My expertise doesn't comprise military jargon, I'm sorry. Headquarters mailroom seems like a safe choice but I guess there are more specific options. Maybe you should try to narrow down your options to a more precise type of building, facility, camp or whatever.
    – saintjules
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 17:55

In America, we refer to such a room as a "mail room".

A "secretariat" is something entirely different. That's a high-level government agency. See http://www.thefreedictionary.com/secretariat. This may be a regional thing: I see several posters saying that an office that peforms secretary functions like typing and filing is called a "secretariat". This is most definitely NOT true in the United States. Such an office is called the "secretary pool" or "secretarial pool" or sometimes the "steno pool". I think "steno pool" is mostly an old-fashioned word.

To the best of my knowledge, the military also call it a "mail room". I just did a google search and was easily able to find references to the "mail room" at various army bases.

  • From my time in the Army, I concur on the use of "mail room." This is generally a place specifically for handling of inbound mail (i.e., I would pick up my personal letters there, but could not ship a package). It might be either an actual room in a building or a free-standing building, depending on the size of unit being serviced and whether it is of a permanent or ad-hoc nature (as seen in deployed units).
    – gp782
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 5:30

I also concur that 'mailroom' captures the essence of a central place where mail is delivered and then distributed internally throughout the organisation. 'Secretariat' would be a place that provides services to committees [like a 'secretary to the committee'] or drafts outgoing mail for signature. (I'm a speaker of Australian English.)

  • 1
    This should probably have been an upvote on another answer, which you'll be able to do with another 14 rep. Commented May 21, 2015 at 3:19
  • 1
    @NathanTuggy, pyobum, I disagree. This answer guves better information about what a secretariat is than other answers here. Commented May 21, 2015 at 11:03

A secretariat will usually encompass far more administrative tasks than the ones you've specified, so if it's particularly dedicated to those purposes, saintjules' options are preferable. Another possible option would be sorting room.

  • Maybe I am not aware of a secretariat duties. Would you please describe what tasks are dedicated to a secretariat? @bruised-reed
    – SAH
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 16:57
  • @Electricman I've linked to a definition of secretariat - it is a fancy word for a collection of secretaries (who normally have many tasks other than just sorting mail). "Secretary" can range from an entry level position in an organisation up to very high administrative positions indeed (eg United States Secretary of State, General Secretary of the United Nations), and it is more usual to apply "secretariat" to (a collection or office of) the mid to upper levels of these positions, rather than the lower strata. Commented May 20, 2015 at 17:09
  • The definition that is given in your link makes sense. The room that I am describing is doing those things as well. But, I want to ask, do you have a room entitled secretariat is your offices or universities? @bruised-reed
    – SAH
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 17:28
  • BTW I can't help but laugh at the page you linked to for a definition of "secretariat". it gives three examples of the word found on the web ... and two of them are references to the famous race horse named "Secretariat", which I think gives pretty much zero illustration of the proper use of the word. I wonder if a human being selected those examples, or if the page finds examples automatically with Google or some such.
    – Jay
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 21:05
  • @Electricman "do you have a room entitled secretariat is your offices or universities?" - No, they would be "department office", "faculty office", "student administration office" etc. I've only heard it used in a governmental department context here (Australia). Commented May 21, 2015 at 2:07

We call it "pigeon hole" in my company. I guess that's because pigeons can be messengers.

  • This can be a funny name in army @alisa
    – SAH
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 14:42
  • It may be at your company but a pigeon hole isn't normally a room.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 14:42
  • I just read everything again. I should elaborate this. For operating the mailing work -that should be "mailroom" I guess. But a small room where the mailboxes of employees are is called "pigeon hole" in my company :)
    – Alisa
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 14:48

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