What do the Z, I, and P in “ZIP code” stand for? And what do the numbers represent?

It’s a hectic time of year for the U.S. Postal Service. Those packages you ordered on Cyber Monday are steadily arriving. You’re probably even receiving a few holiday greetings the old-fashioned way — snail mail.

The half million employees who work for the USPS rely heavily on the five- or nine-digit ZIP codes for efficient and reliable mail delivery. So, it makes sense that the term “ZIP code” would be related to being zippy, which means “lively” or “peppy.”

“ZIP” is actually an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan. However, the USPS intentionally chose the acronym to indicate that mail travels more quickly when senders mark the postal code on their packages and envelopes.

The general system of ZIP codes used today was implemented in 1963. Prior to this system, the USPS used a system of postal zones, which was only applicable to large cities. This is where the “improvement” part comes into play.

The basic ZIP code has five digits. The first three digits refer to a sectional center facility (or SCF), what is basically a network of super post offices. All of the post offices that have those three digits in their ZIP code have their mail sorted and processed by the same SCF.  The last two numbers designate the specific post office within an SCF’s territory.

In the 1980s a new system was introduced called ZIP+4. Four additional digits (with a hyphen) were added to the basic code. This allowed senders to indicate an even more precise location, such as a particular block or apartment building. The rise in post office boxes also made this greater level of precision necessary.

Here’s one more postal term to file away: Postnet. The Postnet is a ZIP code translated into a barcode and printed on a piece of mail. The Postnet makes it more efficient for automated machines to sort mail.

Now that you have command of the ZIP code, try the challenge of understanding how to read a barcode. Be warned; it’s not easy. Here’s our explanation.

Senior menus, February 23 to 27

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA) February 20, 2009 Hot meals for seniors 60 and older are provided by Old Timers Foundation from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at area senior centers. A donation of $3 is requested. Meals are served at the following centers:

Bloomington: 18317 Valley Blvd., (909) 877-4310.

Chino: 13170 Central Ave., (909) 628-0071.

Fontana: 16707 Marygold Ave., (909) 822-3246; 6396 N. Citrus Ave., (909) 823-3888; and 8565 Nuevo Ave., (909) 822-4493.

Ontario: 225 B St., (909) 395-2021.

Rancho Cucamonga: 11200 Base Line Road, (909) 987-1911.

Rialto: 214 N. Palm Ave., (909) 820-2616.

Upland: 250 N. Third Ave., (909) 981-4501.

All entrees are served with vegetables, salad, bread and a beverage. The menu for this week is:

Monday: Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, yellow squash, Mandarin oranges, whole wheat bread, apricots.

Tuesday: Spaghetti with meat sauce, mixed vegetables, spinach salad, whole wheat bread, orange.

Wednesday: Chicken and noodles with gravy, broccoli, beet salad, whole wheat bread, banana. here whole wheat bread

Thursday: Beef stew with vegetables, salad, whole wheat bread, vanilla pudding.

Friday: Roast pork with gravy, sweet potatoes, peas, coleslaw, whole wheat bread, applesauce.

Intervale Senior Services provides hot, nutritious lunches for seniors 60 and older at 11:15 a.m. Monday through Friday at the San Dimas Senior Citizen and Community Center, 201 E. Bonita Ave., San Dimas. Cost is a suggested donation of $2 and includes low-fat milk. Information: (909) 394-6298.

The menu for this week:

Monday: Sweet and sour pork, vegetable soup, rice pilaf, Chinese vegetables, salad, whole grain roll, sliced cantaloupe.

Tuesday: Ovenfried chicken with gravy, creamy corn soup, scalloped potatoes, carrots and corn, broccoli slaw, whole grain roll, apple.

Wednesday: Barbecue beef slices, grape juice, cheesy macaroni, baked beans, carrot and pineapple salad, apple cobbler.

Thursday: Roast turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, fiesta green beans, tomato and pepper salad, whole grain bread, pineapple chunks.

Friday: Lasagna, minestrone soup, Normandy vegetables, salad, whole grain roll, butterscotch pudding.

The Joslyn Senior Center, 660 N. Mountain Ave., Claremont, offers lunch to seniors 60 or older at 11:30 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday at Blaisdell Park, 440 S. College Ave., Claremont.

Suggested donation is $2. Information: (909) 399-5488.

The menu for this week is:

Monday: Chicken chow mein, rice, Chinese noodles, Normandy vegetables, salad, tapioca pudding, apple juice.

Tuesday: Spaghetti with meatballs, minestrone soup, buttered zucchini, salad, cantaloupe or honeydew melon.

Wednesday: Turkey, barley beef soup, sweet potato, broccoli, three bean salad, lime gelatin.

Thursday: Hot roast beef sandwich, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, confetti cabbage salad, seasonal fruit.

Friday: Fish with lemon sauce or roast pork with gravy, parsley noodles, succotash, marinated tomatoes, oatmeal cookies or fruit alternate.

Lunch is offered at three sites in Pomona for seniors who are 60 and older. Spouses may also eat at the sites. There is a suggested donation of $1.75 per meal for seniors 60 and older and $2.10 for nonseniors. Meals are served at:

Emerson Village: 753 N. Palomares St., (909) 620-2494.

Washington Park: 865 E. Grand Ave., (909) 620-2305. go to website whole wheat bread

Palomares Park: 499 E. Arrow Highway, (909) 620-2324.

The menu for this week:

Monday: Pepper steak, confetti rice, chicken noodle soup, beets, fruit cup.

Tuesday: Turkey broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, carrots, pineapple juice, peach slices.

Wednesday: Roast beef, collard greens, tomato rice soup, cornbread, Mandarin oranges.

Thursday: Garlic chicken, marshmallow yams, whole wheat bread, hot apple rings, orange juice, banana.

Friday: Meatloaf, parsley potatoes, whole wheat bread, tomatoes, apple juice, bread pudding.

The City of Montclair Senior Nutrition Program offers lunches Monday through Friday for seniors 60 and older, paid for in part by the San Bernardino County Department of Aging. Hours are 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 5111 Benito St., Montclair. Suggested donation is $1.75. Information: (909) 625-9462.

The menu for this week is:

Monday: Stuffed bell pepper, mashed potatoes, green beans and carrots, salad, gelatin.

Tuesday: Meatloaf, potato soup, steamed vegetables, coleslaw, biscuit, banana.

Wednesday: Chicken breast with white sauce, scalloped potatoes, peas, citrus salad, cake, ice cream.

Thursday: Beef taco, apple juice, pinto beans, flour tortilla, pudding.

Friday: Ham and spinach quiche, beef broth soup, three bean salad, beet and onion salad, orange and pineapple slices.


States News Service November 29, 2010 NEWARK, DE — The following information was released by the University of Delaware:

A panel discussion sponsored by the St. Albert Institute of Catholic Thought and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Delaware entitled “Our Bodies, Our Children, Ourselves: Pro-Life Women Speak Out,” will be held from 7:30 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 1, in Room 004 Kirkbride Hall on the UD campus in Newark. site articles on abortion

THIS STORY Print Delicious Digg this Twitter Facebook The panel will discuss the topic of Christian women and abortion, and the speakers are:

Ellen Barrosse , president and founder of A Rose and a Prayer, dedicated to the decrease of abortions in the state of Delaware. this web site articles on abortion

Leslie Dean , regional coordinator for Silent No More and author of Forgiven Much, which recounts her experience as a post-abortive woman.

Mary McCrossan, M.D. , who practices family medicine at a health center for low income patients in Wilmington and has certification in bioethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Katherin Rogers , professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Delaware, who has published numerous articles, including articles on abortion and cloning. She has certification in bioethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Rae Stabosz , who is retired from the University of Delaware after 27 years in academic computing and now participates actively in the civil rights movement for the unborn. She is co-president of the St. Albert Institute of Catholic Thought.


  1. saad khan -  February 9, 2015 - 7:23 pm

    I’m a student of Punjab University but I want to know, What is the zip code use and main role in Pakistan and in all over the other Asian countries?

  2. Carissa -  December 26, 2010 - 8:07 am

    Wow, it seems that I often learn just as much from the comments as I do from the article, if not more. It blows my mind to think that at one time, postal codes were just two digits!

  3. Who'da'thought -  December 20, 2010 - 7:17 am

    I have Zip+4 put on all my mail.
    Out post office has many times “lost” our mail without it, including statements from Credit Card companies. Arrgh!
    But now that I pay online, that isn’t much of an issue.

  4. Dwayne McCoy -  December 19, 2010 - 8:40 am

    The postulations set forth are haphazard at best and scurrilous at worst…

  5. thebluebird11 -  December 19, 2010 - 7:49 am

    I didn’t realize that ZIP codes go back to 1963, at which time I was about 5. I still remember “zones” quite well, and even at that young age I was very conscious of addressing birthday and holiday cards to my grandparents, whose zone was 30 (as in Brookly 30, NY). In those days, the zone went in between the city and the state, not after, as the ZIP code does. Amazing little trivia that I can remember from 40+ years ago, when I can’t remember where I put my glasses LOL

  6. john rhea -  December 19, 2010 - 4:23 am

    I always thought it stood for Zoo is Prison, but what do I know, I’m just a po’ colored boy…

  7. C. Jean Brown, PhD -  December 18, 2010 - 11:59 pm

    I still have the paperwork left at my house in early 1963 informing us that our zone would change! It went from 02 to 39202. The hardest thing for us was to remember to write it AFTER the state instead of between the city & state. I just checked the cedar chest and it was originally called zoning improvement plan. So, Kelli, you are right!

  8. Curly -  December 18, 2010 - 5:45 pm

    @Bryan H. Allen and Kelli:

    [An acronym formed from Zone Improvement Program ]
    Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    • HGHansen -  January 7, 2015 - 6:01 pm

      I’m recalling that P means program, not plan.

  9. boosielove -  December 18, 2010 - 2:11 pm

    Thanks Cyberquill you teach me alot of interesting things :)

  10. pissed -  December 18, 2010 - 1:49 pm

    @ Dictionary.com

    please remove the AWAZ DO advt. from the website…or atleast stop the knocking sound…
    it is bloodyy irritating…

  11. sherryyu -  December 18, 2010 - 1:10 pm

    wow never in my life had i learned that

  12. kewlkiwi -  December 18, 2010 - 11:17 am

    …..sectional center facility (or SCF), what is basically…

  13. Laurencia -  December 18, 2010 - 9:01 am

    I think the ZIP need some further improvement. A package was mailed to me on Dec 4th ( from Oregon) and I still have not received it. It is the 18th today. It has the ZIP code on it…..

  14. AriesSpirit -  December 18, 2010 - 4:17 am

    Back here in South Africa it’s called the postal code.

  15. Joey -  December 17, 2010 - 6:27 pm

    “The B, A, and R in barcode stand for Beer And Rum”

    No, they don’t.

  16. grainy screen -  December 17, 2010 - 6:24 pm

    black and white, convex and concave in the flat sheet, a body materialized without a ram, and today is a perfect laundry Saturday.

  17. Cyberquill -  December 17, 2010 - 5:09 pm

    The B, A, and R in barcode stand for Beer And Rum, because that’s what is served at a bar.

  18. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  December 17, 2010 - 12:49 pm

    The ZIP+4 has ambiguous coding: The same address in a condominium can be identified by its building ‘+4′ or its floor ‘+4′– two different ‘+4′s.

  19. S. Cline -  December 17, 2010 - 12:20 pm

    Oddly enough, most businesses don’t want the +4 part of the zip. I know mine, but most of the time, it either doesn’t go in or triggers an error. Cyber Monday emphasized that this still continues.

  20. Kelli -  December 17, 2010 - 11:00 am

    And I’ve always heard it was ZonING Improvement Plan.

    The evidence is buried in the original post office documentation from the 50s and 60s. I think I can live with not knowing!

  21. Bryan H. Allen -  December 17, 2010 - 10:32 am

    Zone Improvement Plan or Zonal Improvement Plan? I read the latter first, years ago. Permissive English grammar allows both variants, but factually, historically, which was original? I suspend all further effort to resolve that one. O trivia collectors, where is your evidence?


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