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1. (Usu. with capital initials.) The public department or corporation responsible for the collection, transmission, and distribution of letters, parcels, etc., by post, and, in later use, for other services, such as (in some countries) telecommunications.
Formerly also: the office of the master of the posts, or postmaster general (obs.).
In many instances it is difficult to separate this sense from the local branch or the headquarters of the department: see sense 2.
1652 Orig. Jrnls. House of Commons 19 Oct. XXXVII. 124 Mr Benjamin Moore, and Mr Wm Jessops claime to the fforeigne post office. 1657 in H. Scobell Acts & Ordin. Parl. (1658) c. 30. 512 From henceforth there be one General Office, to be called and known by the name of the Post-Office of England; and one Officer..nominated and appointed..under the Name and Stile of Postmaster-General of England, and Comptroller of the Post-Office.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.