Definitions

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

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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).
  • noun A closed (covered) cylindrical shipping container.
  • noun A company of wasps.

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English paile, probably from Old French paele, warming pan, perhaps from Latin patella, small pan; see paella.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Examples

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