Definitions

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

  • n. A small package or bundle.
  • n. Informal A sizable sum of money.
  • n. A boat, usually a coastal or river steamer, that plies a regular route and carries passengers, freight, and mail.
  • n. A short block of data transmitted in a packet switching network.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small pack or package; a little bundle or parcel; as, a packet of letters, a packet of crisps, a packet of biscuits.
  • n. Originally, a vessel employed by government to convey dispatches or mails; hence, a vessel employed in conveying dispatches, mails, passengers, and goods, and having fixed days of sailing; a mail boat. Packet boat, ship, vessel (Wikipedia).
  • n. A specimen envelope containing small, dried plants or containing parts of plants when attached to a larger sheet.
  • n. A small fragment of data as transmitted on some types of network, notably Ethernet networks (Wikipedia).
  • v. To make up into a packet or bundle.
  • v. To send in a packet or dispatch vessel.
  • v. To ply with a packet or dispatch boat.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small pack or package; a little bundle or parcel.
  • n. Originally, a vessel employed by government to convey dispatches or mails; hence, a vessel employed in conveying dispatches, mails, passengers, and goods, and having fixed days of sailing; a mail boat.
  • intransitive v. To ply with a packet or dispatch boat.
  • transitive v. To make up into a packet or bundle.
  • transitive v. To send in a packet or dispatch vessel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bind up in a package or parcel.
  • To despatch or send in a packet-vessel.
  • n. A small pack or package; a parcel; a mail of letters.
  • n. A despatch-vessel; a ship or other vessel employed to convey letters from country to country or from port to port; a vessel employed in carrying mails, goods, and passengers at stated intervals; hence, a vessel starting on regular days, or at an appointed time. Also called packet-boat, packet-ship, packet-vessel.
  • n. The panel of a packhorse.
  • n. A pack (250 leaves) of leaf-metal.

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

  • n. a small package or bundle
  • n. (computer science) a message or message fragment
  • n. a collection of things wrapped or boxed together
  • n. a boat for carrying mail

Etymologies

Middle English pekette, probably diminutive of pak, pack; see pack1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Either from Middle French pacquet, or formed independently from pack + -et. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Except now I can't remember if it's a 500g packet of butter or a 250g packet*.

    Archive 2008-11-01

  • But hey, if you want shitty-quality video, the stagnation of VOIP, and extremely-laggy surgery-at-a-distance just because “a packet is a packet is a packet”, then by all means get the government to ban stuff like DPI.

    DPI is GOOD for you: ‘Um – crap’

  • The underlying misunderstanding behind the “debate” about Net Neutrality and DPI boils down to “a packet is a packet is a packet”.

    DPI is GOOD for you: ‘Um – crap’

  • “I hit on the word packet,” he said, “in the sense of small package.”

    Where Wizards Stay Up Late

  • STB has the press packet from the event posted -- it's pretty heady stuff, especially since the mayor has found a way to solve the problem that "In King County, African-Americans are 60 percetn (sic) more likely to be obese".

    “Walk Bike Ride” Plan Would Narrow Nickerson for Bikes « PubliCola

  • I will certainly make them into a parcel, with some songs I have long meant to send you. and you will receive it by next Thursday night by Avey — But I write this quickly that you may have it tomorrow evening and know that the packet is coming. —

    Letter 183

  • Others like Public Knowledge take the position that every packet is equal.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • In this packet is community information, police links so on so forth, but they also included the Colorado Springs CO, sex offender registry.

    Heroes or Villains?

  • One application packet is sufficient to apply for all available fellowship positions.

    Postdoctoral Program

  • The download packet is a mix of. pdf,. doc,. html, and. rtf files, nothing really set up for Kindle that I know of.

    2010 Hugo Award Nominees and download packet « Hyperpat’s HyperDay

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