This screenshot shows the "Inbox" page of an email client, where users can see new emails and take actions, such as reading, deleting, saving, or responding to these messages.
The at sign, a part of every SMTP email address[1]

Electronic mail (email or e-mail) is a method of exchanging messages ("mail") between people using electronic devices. Invented by Ray Tomlinson, email first entered limited use in the 1960s and by the mid-1970s had taken the form now recognized as email. Email operates across computer networks, which today is primarily the Internet. Some early email systems required the author and the recipient to both be online at the same time, in common with instant messaging. Today's email systems are based on a store-and-forward model. Email servers accept, forward, deliver, and store messages. Neither the users nor their computers are required to be online simultaneously; they need to connect only briefly, typically to a mail server or a webmail interface for as long as it takes to send or receive messages.

Originally an ASCII text-only communications medium, Internet email was extended by Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) to carry text in other character sets and multimedia content attachments. International email, with internationalized email addresses using UTF-8, has been standardized, but as of 2017 it has not been widely adopted.[2]

The history of modern Internet email services reaches back to the early RFC 561). An email message sent in the early 1970s looks very similar to a basic email sent today. Email had an important role in creating the Internet,[3] and the conversion from ARPANET to the Internet in the early 1980s produced the core of the current services.


Historically, the term electronic mail was used generically for any electronic document transmission. For example, several writers in the early 1970s used the term to refer to fax document transmission.[4][5] As a result, it is difficult to find the first citation for the use of the term with the more specific meaning it has today.

Electronic mail has been most commonly called email or e-mail since around 1993,[6] but variations of the spelling have been used:

  • email is the most common form used online, and is required by IETF Requests for Comments (RFC) and working groups[7] and increasingly by style guides.[8][9] This spelling also appears in most dictionaries.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16]
  • e-mail is the format that sometimes appears in edited, published American English and British English writing as reflected in the Corpus of Contemporary American English data,[17] but is falling out of favor in some style guides.[9][18]
  • mail was the form used in the original protocol standard, RFC 524. The service is referred to as mail, and a single piece of electronic mail is called a message.
  • EMail is a traditional form that has been used in RFCs for the "Author's Address" and is expressly required "for historical reasons".[19]
  • E-mail is sometimes used, capitalizing the initial E as in similar abbreviations like E-piano, E-guitar, A-bomb, and H-bomb.[20]

An Internet e-mail consists of an envelope and content;[21] the content in turn consists of a header and a body.[22]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: E-pos
Alemannisch: E-Mail
অসমীয়া: ইমেইল
azərbaycanca: Elektron poçt
বাংলা: ই-মেইল
Bân-lâm-gú: Tiān-chú-phoe
башҡортса: Электрон почта
беларуская: Электронная пошта
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Электронная пошта
भोजपुरी: ई मेल
български: Електронна поща
Boarisch: E-Mail
bosanski: E-mail
čeština: E-mail
Cymraeg: E-bost
dansk: E-mail
Deutsch: E-Mail
eesti: E-kiri
Esperanto: Retpoŝto
فارسی: ایمیل
føroyskt: Teldupostur
Frysk: E-mail
Gaeilge: Ríomhphost
贛語: 電郵
گیلکی: ايميل
ગુજરાતી: ઇ-મેઇલ
한국어: 전자우편
हिन्दी: ईमेल
Bahasa Indonesia: Surat elektronik
interlingua: Currero electronic
isiXhosa: I-e-mail
íslenska: Tölvupóstur
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಇ-ಅಂಚೆ
Kiswahili: Barua pepe
kurdî: E-peyam
ລາວ: ອີແມລ
Lëtzebuergesch: E-Mail
Limburgs: E-mail
lingála: Nkandá
lumbaart: E-mail
magyar: E-mail
македонски: Електронско писмо
Malagasy: Mailaka
മലയാളം: ഇ-മെയിൽ
मराठी: ईमेल
مصرى: ايميل
Bahasa Melayu: Mel elektronik
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Diêng-cṳ̄-piĕ
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အီးမေးလ်
Nāhuatl: E-mail
Nederlands: E-mail
Nedersaksies: Lienpost
नेपाली: इमेल
日本語: 電子メール
norsk: E-post
norsk nynorsk: E-post
олык марий: Электрон почто
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: ଇମେଲ
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: E-Mail
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਈ-ਮੇਲ
پنجابی: ای میل
پښتو: برېښليک
Patois: Iimiel
Piemontèis: Pòsta eletrònica
Tok Pisin: Imel
Plattdüütsch: Nettbreef
português: E-mail
română: E-mail
rumantsch: E-mail
Runa Simi: E-chaski
саха тыла: E-mail
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱤᱢᱮᱞ
Scots: Email
sicilianu: E-mail
Simple English: E-mail
سنڌي: اي ميل
slovenčina: E-mail
slovenščina: Elektronska pošta
Soomaaliga: Email
српски / srpski: Електронска пошта
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: E-mail
Sunda: Surélék
svenska: E-post
తెలుగు: ఈ-మెయిల్
ไทย: อีเมล
Türkçe: E-posta
українська: Електронна пошта
اردو: برقی ڈاک
Tiếng Việt: Thư điện tử
Võro: Välkpost
walon: Emile
Winaray: Email
吴语: 电子邮件
ייִדיש: בליצפאסט
粵語: 電郵
Zazaki: E-mail
žemaitėška: Alektruonėnis pašts
中文: 电子邮件