zip code


zip code
a system used in the U.S. to facilitate the delivery of mail, consisting of a five- or nine-digit code printed directly after the address, the first five digits (initial code) indicating the state and post office or postal zone, the last four (expanded code) the box section or number, portion of a rural route, building, or other specific delivery location.
[1960-65, Amer.; Z(one) I(mprovement) P(rogram)]

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System of postal-zone codes (zip stands for "zone improvement plan") introduced in the U.S. in 1963 to improve mail delivery and exploit electronic reading and sorting capabilities.

The original code, which corresponds to the postal codes used in most countries in the world, consists of five numbers. The first three identify the state and portion of the state, the last two a specific post office or zone. In 1983 a nine-digit code (created by adding a hyphen and four digits) was introduced to further speed delivery; the first two added digits specify a particular "sector," the last two an even smaller "segment" (e.g., one side of a city block, or a single floor in a large building).

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in full  Zone Improvement Plan Code 

      system of zone coding introduced by the U.S. Post Office Department (now the U.S. Postal Service) in 1963 to facilitate the sorting and delivery of mail. After an extensive publicity campaign, the department finally succeeded in eliciting from the public a widespread acceptance of the ZIP code. Users of the mails were requested to include in all addresses a five-number code, of which the first three digits identified the section of the country to which the item was destined and the last two digits the specific post office or zone of the addressee. The primary purpose of the zone coding system was to fully exploit the capabilities of electronic reading and sorting equipment.

      The U.S. Postal Service introduced a nine-digit ZIP Code in 1983. The new code, composed of the original five digits plus a hyphen and four additional numbers, was designed to speed up automated sorting operations. The first two of the four extra digits specify a particular sector, such as a group of streets or cluster of large buildings. The last two digits of the expanded code represent an even smaller area called a segment, which may consist of one side of a city block, a single floor in a large building, or a group of post office boxes.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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