Glossary of email terms everybody should know

What is a blocklist? What does BCC stand for? And what does two-factor authentication actually mean? A lot of terms get thrown around when we talk about the internet, and sometimes the exact meaning is unclear to users. Never fear – our glossary of email terminology to sheds light on 30 common email terms.
Woman in hijab sits at orange table looking at open laptop
Not sure what IMAP is? Our email glossary is here to help

Thirty email terms every user should know

Allowlist, also known as a whitelist: A list created that consists of trusted email senders. A method to ensure emails, replies, and attachments from trusted senders always make it to your inbox.
Artificial Intelligence, often referred to as AI: Computer systems that are used to simulate human intelligence, thinking, and behavior to perform tasks or solve problems. E.g. An AI software that can detect spam accounts. Our blog has more information on Artificial Intelligence .

BCC, also known as blind carbon copy: A way to include additional recipients on an email message invisibly or without revealing their email address. Unlike with CC, the email addresses in BCC are hidden from all other recipients. Our blog has more information on BCC.
Blocklist, also known as a blacklist: A list that contains IP addresses and domains that have been flagged by spam filters. Also, a process in identifying spammers. Our blog has more information on Blocklisting.
Cache: A memory bank for information that was previously retrieved by a computer, storing it in a place where it can be accessed quickly without long download times. Our blog has more information on Caches and why you sometimes have to clear them.
CC or carbon copy: A way to include additional recipients on an email message indirectly. Our blog has more information on CC.
Cloud: The cloud is a way to store data on remote servers, where it can be accessed via an internet connection. The Cloud is a standard online file storage feature that comes free with your account. Our blog has more information on using the Cloud.
Cookies: Small text files sent to your browser from a website you visit. Cookies monitor and track the sites you visit and the items you click on within a webpage. Our blog has more information on website cookies .
DMARC: An email security protocol that helps domain and email users protect their domain from unauthorized misuse by third parties.  Our blog has more information on Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance.
Email Alias: An alternative email that acts as a forwarding email address. This allows switching between email recipient and sender addresses within a single email account. Our blog has more information on understanding Alias addresses.
Email Domain: The part of your email address behind the @ symbol. It is associated with a specific mail server or servers. E.g.,, Our blog has more information on Email Domains.
Email Signature: Text that is automatically inserted into the end an email to sign off the correspondence. An email signature will generally contain professional credentials, name, business contact information, website URL, and a memorable anecdote or quote. Our blog has more information on how to create an Email Signature .
Greylisting: A method of email delay to defend email users against spam. Used by mail servers to combat a certain type of spam known as unsolicited bulk email. Our blog has more information on Greylisting.
IMAP, or Internet Message Access Protocol: A protocol that keeps emails synced across multiple devices. Our blog has more information on  IMAP.
IP Address: The IP or internet protocol address is the standard for the exchange of information on the internet. Our blog has more information on IP Addresses .
Mailer Daemon, also known as the mail delivery subsystem: A “daemon” is computer jargon for an unattended software program that runs in the background. In this case, it’s a program that delivers an email across multiple mail subsystems, and occasionally notifies you if your message can’t be delivered. Our blog has more information on Mailer Daemon.
Pharming: A cyberattack which uses malicious code executed on the victim’s device to redirect to an attacker-controlled website. E.g. A fake site can then install malicious programs on to a computer or device once the website is interacted with. Our blog has more information on Pharming.
Phishing: When cybercriminals pretend to be from a reputable company to try to trick you into revealing personal information. Our blog has more information on avoiding Phishing attacks.
POP3: Also known as POP or Post Office Protocol, POP3 is a protocol for retrieving mails from an email server to a device (i.e. your laptop, tablet or smartphone). The messages are fetched from the server and saved on a device. Our blog has more information on POP3.
Ransomware: A fraudulent email which threatens to publish a victim’s personal data or sensitive information unless a ransom is paid. The number one cause of ransomware is phishing emails.Our blog has more information on Ransomware.
SMTP: The most common protocol for sending email messages between email servers. SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. Our blog has more information on SMTP Authentication.
Spam: Unsolicited commercial email. Spam is also commonly used to refer to solicited emails recipients no longer wish to receive, e.g. from a mailing list they joined voluntarily. Some people also refer to phishing emails or messages containing viruses as spam. Our blog has more information on identifying Spam.
SSL Certificate: A type of digital certificate which provides authentication for a website. A SSL certificate keeps sensitive data secure and protected from third parties. Our blog has more information on understanding a SSL Certificate.
Subscribe: The process of joining a mailing list, either through an email offer, by completing a Web form, or offline by filling out a form or requesting to be added verbally.
Two-factor Authentication, or 2FA: A multifactor user verification to prove you are the owner of the account. 2FA provides an additional layer of security without the sole reliance on a password. Our blog has more information on 2FA.
Typosquatting: The case in which a person registers a domain name that is a common misspelling of a legitimate company’s website. Our blog has more information on Typosquatting.
URL, or Uniform Resource Locator: The address of a web page, consisting of several elements. Our blog has more information on understanding a URL.
Virus: A program made of codes that can copy itself and causing a detrimental effect like corrupting a device or computer system and destroying data.
VPN or Virtual Private Network: Provides online security, privacy, and anonymity. It can be used for protecting daily digital activities, both business and personal.
Zip Files: A file format that acts as an archive to support data compression. Our blog has more information Compressed Files.
Did this glossary clear up your questions on email terminology? If there is still an email term you’d like explained, why not leave us a comment below (you must be logged into your account to comment).

Images: 1&1/Pexel

39 people found this article helpful.

Related articles

What are digital assets & what happens to them after you’re gone?

Email organization: Two effective strategies for organizing your inbox

Professional emails: How to write an effective business email