Definitions

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

  • n. A watertight cylindrical vessel, open at the top and fitted with a handle; a bucket.
  • n. The amount that a pail can hold.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A vessel of wood, tin, plastic, etc., usually cylindrical and having a handle -- used especially for carrying liquids, for example water or milk; a bucket (sometimes with a cover).
  • n. A closed (covered) cylindrical shipping container.
  • n. A company of wasps.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A vessel of wood or tin, etc., usually cylindrical and having a bail, -- used esp. for carrying liquids, as water or milk, etc.; a bucket. It may, or may not, have a cover.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A vessel of wood (staves) or sheet-metal (usually tin), nearly or quite cylindrical, with a hooped handle or bail, used for carrying water, milk, or other liquids.

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

  • n. a roughly cylindrical vessel that is open at the top
  • n. the quantity contained in a pail

Etymologies

Middle English paile, probably from Old French paele, warming pan, perhaps from Latin patella, small pan; see paella.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English payle 'wooden container', from Old English pæġel 'wine vessel, container for liquids, pail; liquid measure', from Proto-Germanic *pagilaz 'peg, rake' (compare Middle Dutch/Middle Low German pegel 'half pint', Danish pægl 'id.'), diminutive of *pag-. More at peg. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • For a while clip clip clip and the sound of grapes hitting the bottom of the pail is all that is heard.

    French Word-A-Day:

  • Conan took a skin pail and brought water from the oasis so she could clean herself.

    Archive 2009-12-01

  • One robe each was kept, one ax, one tin pail, and a scant supply of bacon and flour.

    Chapter V

  • Water was carried by pail from the creek for cooking, washing, and doing dishes.

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  • Joshi told us a charming story of Lovecraft hosting a coffee klatch for his fellow writers in New York and bringing the coffee in by the pail from the local deli.

    Fear of the Unknown : The Lovecraft News Network

  • While I sat there on an old tin pail which I had turned up for this purpose, two German officers came in, whistling.

    Three Times and Out: A Canadian Boy's Experience in Germany

  • They tell of a fastidious lady who carried a small tin pail of water to the cook tent and addressed the cook nervously as he beat the morning flapjacks with a savage hand.

    Through Glacier Park: Seeing America First with Howard Eaton

  • Out in the courtyard there are a number of water taps for filling troughs, and to each of the candidates for liberty a small pail is given, and they are told to drain out the troughs, the taps running full force.

    In Times Like These

  • The women still carry the water in a pail from a pump outside, wash the dishes on the kitchen table, and carry the water out again in a pail; although out in the barn the water is pumped by a windmill, or a gasoline engine.

    In Times Like These

  • There's that tin pail – we don't want it for anything – won't you.

    Melbourne House

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