from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A pack; a bundle.
  • noun A burden.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A bundle or pack; a burden; hence, anything cumbersome or irksome.
  • noun A fourth part: an old law term.—
  • To make up in packs or bundles.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete A bundle or little pack; hence, a burden.
  • transitive verb obsolete To make up in fardels.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A fourth part; a quarter.
  • noun obsolete a bundle or burden
  • verb obsolete, transitive To make up in fardels.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a burden (figuratively in the form of a bundle)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, diminutive of farde, package, from Arabic farda, single piece, pack, bundle, from farada, to be separate; see prd in Semitic roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

A corruption of Middle English ferthe del (literally "fourth part"), equivalent to fourth +‎ deal. Cognate with Dutch vierendeel ("a fourth part, quarter"), German Viertel ("a quarter, fourth"), Danish fjerdedel ("a quarter"), Swedish fjärdedel ("a fourth, quarter").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English fardel, from Old French fardel ("pack, bundle"), from Spanish fardel, diminutive of fardo ("pack, bundle"), from Arabic  (fardah, "a package").


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  • Harry Potter, Oscar Wilde's one-liners, Waking Ned Devine, the word fardel, the original BBC "The Office," and so on (notably, not the National Health Service, thankyouverymuch).

    folkbum's rambles and rants 2009

  • a satisfactory "fardel" brought by Hymen's or any other express company before; and in opening the packages, reading the notes that came with them and exclaiming and admiring, time flew so fast that Rose quite forgot the hour, till little Rose, growing sleepy, reminded her of it by saying, --

    Clover Susan Coolidge 1870

  • Why here have we the very impress of young Hamlet's soul -- 'To grunt and sweat beneath a weary life' -- feel you not there compunction and disgust, seeing in life no cleanly burden, but a 'fardel' truly, borne on the greasy shoulders of filthy slaves! "

    The Panchronicon Harold Steele MacKaye 1897

  • The manner of it was thus: there cometh in to her the laundress early as other times before she was wanted, and the Queen according to such a secret practice putteth on her the hood of the laundress, and so with the fardel of clothes and the muffler upon her face, passeth, out and entereth the boat to pass the

    The Abbot 2008

  • Oliver, who produces with such happy complacence his fardel of small talk, and who, as he never doubts his own powers of affording amusement, passes them current with every pretty woman he approaches, and fills up the intervals of chat by his complete acquaintance with the exercise of the fan, the FLACON, and the other duties of the CAVALIERE SERVENTE.

    Redgauntlet 2008

  • Then drops the soul her fardel, as the travel-tir'd

    Poems and Fragments 2006

  • Then drops the soul her fardel, as the travel-tir'd

    Poems and Fragments 2006

  • (“Works and Days,” 342.) or at least we should have our acquaintance and familiars to participate of our entertainments, mirth, and discourse over a glass of wine; but now, as ferry-men permit their passengers to bring in what fardel they please, so we permit others to fill our entertainments with any persons, let them be good companions or not.

    Symposiacs 2004

  • Sir, there lies such secrets in this fardel and box, which none must know but the king; and which he shall know within this hour, if I may come to the speech of him.

    The Winter’s Tale 2004

  • I was by at the opening of the fardel, heard the old shepherd deliver the manner how he found it: whereupon, after a little amazedness, we were all commanded out of the chamber; only this methought I heard the shepherd say, he found the child.

    The Winter’s Tale 2004


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  • Nobody knows the fardels I've seen.

    February 12, 2008

  • Do tell...

    February 12, 2008

  • "Who would fardels bear..."

    The bard at his best.

    February 13, 2008

  • Indeed.

    February 13, 2008

  • This word makes it difficult for me to take that line seriously.

    June 3, 2011

  • See also farl.

    April 12, 2018

  • Is there a way to link this image to the "visuals"?

    January 20, 2020

  • feliciajeansteele, you sort of just did. I think the only way to actually do that would be to upload the image to Flickr yourself and tag it with the relevant term(s). But I have no idea how often Wordnik refreshes from the Flickr API

    January 21, 2020