spam/garbage mails


I receive an average of 40 e-mails a day, but half of them are spam.


Is it correct to call "spam" in the above "garbage or junk mails?" Thanks.
  • They are not exactly the same, though I agree spam is garbage. :)

    However, spam mails are mails suspected to contain a virus that is sent to a lot of people in a chain or simply mails sent to a lot of recipients with an aim to collapse the network.

    Does it make sense?
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    I disagree with Rivendell's definition of spam.
    Spam is anything unsolicited, whether it is harmful or not.

    Spam or junk mail - either would describe this stuff.
    Well, Panj, I'm not going to say you are not right. :)

    However, I would like to clarify this point: Spam is usually junk but it doesn't have to be, does it?? I mean, you can receive an e-mail you did not expect and it can contain something of interest for you (publicity...), so you don't discard it. Am I wrong?

    Also, isn't spam meant to collapse networks?
    As panj says, in common usage "spam" designates unsolicited mail, often for advertising purposes rather than for "attacks" ... though it's true that when your mailbox is full of it every day, you certainly feel attacked.

    Spam doesn't necessarily contain viruses, trojans, worms, or whatever (but that possibility can't be excluded).

    My feeling is that "junk mail" is a broader definition, meaning anything unwanted, regardless of its motive (advertising, phishing, network overload, virus, ...)

    Also, isn't spam meant to collapse networks?
    The stuff that e-mail spam filters remove is predominantly advertising.
    Multiple messages that are intended to collapse networks or flood a server in denial of service attacks are not really intended to be read by anyone.
    "Unsolicited" is a rather broad term. I wouldn't call a "happy birthday" e-mail from my daughter "spam" although I didn't ask her to send it.

    To me, spam and junk mail are synonymous and are anything that I don't want to see and obviously have been blasted to a large number of recipients.

    Perhaps we should take a cue from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart who wrote the memorable statement regarding pornography. "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."`(Jacobellis v. Ohio 378 U.S. 184 1964)
    Just as a note, "mail" should be singular here, as panjandrum, sdgraham, and Wordsmyth have used it, not "junk mails" or "garbage mails."

    In the collective sense I quite agree, James. With 'snail-mail', a plural isn't appropriate:
    "I had three letters and a postcard in my mail this morning". Indeed, you don't get "a mail".

    However e-mail differs in that a single one is called "an e-mail", or very commonly "a mail".
    So: "I receive 40 mails a day" is pretty common usage.

    An alternative would be "40 messages" — grammatically more satisfying, but potentially ambiguous unless qualified as "40 e-mail messages".