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

  • noun Something wrapped up or packaged; a package.
  • noun A plot of land, usually a division of a larger area.
  • noun A quantity of merchandise offered for sale.
  • noun A group or company; a pack.
  • transitive verb To divide into parts and distribute.
  • transitive verb To make into a parcel; package.
  • transitive verb Nautical To wind protective strips of canvas around (rope).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To divide into parts or portions: generally with out.
  • To particularize; specify.
  • To cover with strips of canvas; wrap with parceling.
  • Partly; in part; partially; to some extent.
  • noun A part, either taken separately or belonging to a whole.
  • noun A separable, separate, or distinct part or portion or section, as of land.
  • noun A constituent or integral part: used frequently in the phrase part and parcel.
  • noun A fragment; piece; bit.
  • noun An item or particular; a detail.
  • noun An indefinite number, quantity, or measure forming a group, mass, or lot: as, a parcel of fools; a parcel of rubbish.
  • noun A number of things wrapped or otherwise put up together; a package, containing a number of articles or a single one; a small bundle.
  • noun plural In law, that part of a deed or conveyance which describes the property conveyed, together with the boundaries thereof, in order to its easy identification.
  • noun Same as parceling, 1.

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

  • Sometimes hyphened with the word following., Sometimes hyphened with the word following. Part or half; in part; partially.
  • [Obs.] a half poet; a poor poet.
  • transitive verb To divide and distribute by parts or portions; -- often with out or into.
  • transitive verb rare To add a parcel or item to; to itemize.
  • transitive verb To make up into a parcel
  • transitive verb (Naut.) to wind strips of tarred canvas tightly arround it.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) to cover it with a strip of tarred canvas.
  • noun Archaic A portion of anything taken separately; a fragment of a whole; a part.
  • noun (Law) A part; a portion; a piece.
  • noun An indiscriminate or indefinite number, measure, or quantity; a collection; a group.
  • noun A number or quantity of things put up together; a bundle; a package; a packet.
  • noun See under 6th Bill.
  • noun an office where parcels are received for keeping or forwarding and delivery.
  • noun that department of the post office concerned with the collection and transmission of parcels; also, the transmission through the parcel post deparment. See parcel post in the vocabulary.
  • noun See under Part.

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

  • noun A package wrapped for shipment.
  • noun An individual consignment of cargo for shipment, regardless of size and form.
  • noun A division of land bought and sold as a unit.
  • noun obsolete A group of birds.
  • noun A group of people.
  • noun A small amount of food that has been wrapped up, for example a pastry.
  • verb To wrap something up into the form of a package.
  • verb To wrap a strip around the end of a rope.

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

  • noun an extended area of land
  • verb cover with strips of canvas
  • noun the allotment of some amount by dividing something
  • noun a collection of things wrapped or boxed together
  • noun a wrapped container
  • verb make into a wrapped container
  • verb divide into parts


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

[Middle English, from Old French, portion, from Vulgar Latin *particella, diminutive of Latin particula, diminutive of pars, part-, part; see perə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French parcelle ("a small piece or part, a parcel, a particle"), from Medieval Latin particella, contr. parcella ("a parcel"), dim. of Latin particula ("particle"), diminutive of pars ("part, piece").


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  • It's weird, most Romance and Germanic languages uses a cognate of packet for this. It doesn't appear to be clearly broken down by language families though, this is probably an example of borrowing, especially given the context in which it is used.

    October 22, 2007

  • "...finally, turning to Gam, he threw him out at the window, among a parcel of hogs that fed under it."

    — Smollett, Peregrine Pickle

    I'm familiar with this in the form passel.

    January 29, 2022