Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
carry the mail (for someone)
To work assiduously, especially in a central role of some difficult or demanding task. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. With their captain out with an injury, it's up to their young star player to carry the mail for the team in this game. The boss carried the mail himself to make sure this project was completed on time.
the check is in the mail
Payment (whether or not in the form of a check) is en route or will be sent shortly. Often used as an excuse to avoid the pressure of creditors or someone expecting payment. Primarily heard in US. A: "Mr. Smith, your mortgage payment is now two months overdue." B: "The check's in the mail, I promise you!" A: "Can you lend me $40 until I get paid next week?" B: "Sure thing, the check's in the mail."
cheque is in the mail
Payment (whether or not in the form of a cheque) is en route or will be sent shortly. Often used as an excuse to avoid the pressure of creditors or someone expecting payment for goods or services. Primarily heard in UK, Canada. A: "Mr. Smith, your mortgage payment is now two months overdue." B: "The cheque's in the mail, I promise you!" A: "Can you lend me $40 until I get paid next week?" B: "Sure thing, the cheque's in the mail."
mail (something) in
1. Literally, to send something somewhere or to someone by mail. I mailed in the application months ago, but I still haven't heard from the university!
2. To perform a given task, duty, or activity with little or no attention, effort, or interest; to do something perfunctorily. Usually such a key player on the field, the team's star running back seems to be mailing it in this afternoon. I usually love his work in film, but he totally mailed in his performance for this voice-over role.
See also: mail
by return mail
Through mail correspondence back to the sender. Please indicate your interest in this offer by return mail.
Paper mail sent through the postal service (as opposed to email). Snails are thought of as very slow. A: "Did we get any exciting snail mail today?" B: "Nah, just some bills." Wait, you sent the invitations snail mail? Why didn't you just do e-vites?
by return mail and by return post
by a subsequent mailing (back to the sender). (A phrase indicating that an answer is expected very soon, by mail.) Since this bill is overdue, would you kindly send us your check by return mail? I answered your request by return post over a year ago. Please check your records.
annoying, unsolicited mail, such as promotional letters, etc. I am so incredibly tired of getting pound after pound of junk mail every day. I could just scream.
mail something from some place
to send something by mail from a particular place. I mailed the check from my office. I will mail it from the main post office.
mail something to someone
to send something to someone by mail. I mailed the check to you yesterday. I mailed a gift to my niece.
See also: mail
Third-class mail, such as unsolicited advertisements and flyers, that is sent indiscriminately. For example, While we were on vacation the front hall filled up with junk mail. [c. 1950]
Ordinary postal service, as opposed to electronic communications. For example, He hasn't taken to his computer so he's still using snail mail. This slangy idiom, alluding to the alleged slowness of the snail, caught on at least partly for its rhyme. [1980s]
ˈsnail mail(informal, humorous) used especially by people who use email on computers to describe the system of sending letters by ordinary mail: I’d love to hear from you, either by email or snail mail.
n. prayer. (A message delivered on one’s knees.) You’d better be sending some knee-mail on this problem.
n. money. The bills are due. I need some mail.
n. post office mail; regular mail as opposed to electronic mail. (Refers to the slowness of regular mail in comparison to electronic mail or faxes.) There are lots of color pictures in the article, so I will send you the original by snail-mail.