What does the term "street address" mean, as opposed to just "address"?
An (unqualified) address can be a post-office box or APO address or the like — any place that can receive mail. People often use "street address" when they need to be able to find a person there, e.g. for packages that require signatures.
Sometimes, "street address" refers to your physical location at a finer level than city. E.g., "1313 Mockingbird Lane", without the city name attached.
But yes, usually it's just a retronym to distinguish it from mailing address (originally) and now e-mail address, web address, IP address, and so forth.
'Address' on its own can refer to 'email address', 'website address' and 'street address'.
'Street' is, therefore, a specifier to 'address', indicating that 'mailing' or 'postal' address is required.
For my part, as a forms designer for software applications and websites, what I would consider the "street address" is as Malvolio said first; the line of a full address containing the curb number of your building (house or apartment) and the street. "1234 Main Street" is the street address.
To this, you may add a second line, indicating the apartment, suite or other sub-unit of that curb address, before specifying the city, state, country (for international mail) and ZIP code.
The more general meaning of "the address of the building at which you actually live or do business, as opposed to where you receive mail or packages", is IMO better served with the term "physical address". Parcel companies typically require this address as opposed to the address at which you have a mailbox; however, even shipping companies can be directed to deliver packages to an address other than where the recipient lives. This address would be the "shipping address".
The use of "street address" meaning just the line with number and street name is (valid) jargon usage within a technical industry, but it's not so commonly understood that way by the general public.
(The idea that a form would have a field for just the "street address" line of an address is worrying; it bespeaks a pattern where an address comprises a fixes list of fields, which blocks proper recording of addresses that do not conform to the form author's preconceptions. Unless the address actually needs to be dissected, just use a multi-line text box.)
Street address is exactly what it says, while an
address can be any address: e-mail address, for example, which are distinguishable by the context.
protected by Community♦ Mar 11 '14 at 3:09
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