A postal code (known in various countries as a post code, postcode, or ZIP code) is a series of letters and/or digits appended to a postal address for the purpose of sorting mail. Once postal codes were introduced, other applications became possible. Although postal codes are usually assigned to geographical areas, special codes are sometimes assigned to individual addresses or to institutions that receive large volumes of mail, such as government agencies and large commercial companies. One example is the French CEDEX system.
There are a number of colloquial terms for postal code.
- postal code
- The general term is used directly in Canada.
- This portmanteau is popular in many English-speaking countries.
- The standard term in the United States and the Philippines; ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan.
- pincode / pincode
- The standard term in India; PIN is an acronym for Postal Index Number.