Short for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, a specification for formatting non-ASCII messages so that they can be sent over the Internet. Many e-mail clients now support MIME, which enables them to send and receive graphics, audio, and video files via the Internet mail system. In addition, MIME supports messages in character sets other than ASCII.
There are many predefined MIME types, such as GIF graphics files and PostScript files. It is also possible to define your own MIME types.
In addition to e-mail applications, Web browsers also support various MIME types. This enables the browser to display or output files that are not in HTML format.
MIME was defined in 1992 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). A new version, called S/MIME,supports encrypted messages.