General English


  • noun a device for making marks on documents; a mark made in this way
  • verb to mark a document with a stamp
  • verb to put a postage stamp on an envelope or parcel


  • A seal required on drawings for commercial projects that contains the architect's or engineer's name and registration number. The individual's signature is usually required over the stamp.

Information & Library Science

  • noun something which marks another object to show that it has been processed
  • verb to use a rubber stamp to mark something

Media Studies

  • noun a small block with a raised design or lettering that can be printed onto paper by inking the block and pressing it to the paper


  • verb to stick a stamp on a letter or parcel

Origin & History of “stamp”

Stamp originally meant ‘crush into small pieces, pound’. The sense ‘slam the foot down’ did not emerge until the 14th century, and ‘imprint with a design by pressure’ (which forms the semantic basis of postage stamp (19th c.)) is as recent as the 16th century. The word comes, probably via an unrecorded Old English *stampian, from prehistoric Germanic *stampōjan (source also of German stampfen, Dutch stampen, Swedish stampa, and Danish stampe). this was derived from the noun *stampaz ‘pestle’, which was formed from the base *stamp- (a non-nasalized version of which, *stap-, lies behind English step). The Germanic verb was borrowed into vulgar Latin as *stampīre, whose past participle has given English, via Mexican Spanish, stampede (19th c.).