Definitions

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

  • n. A 17th-century game in which a boxwood ball was struck with a mallet to drive it through an iron ring suspended at the end of an alley.
  • n. The alley in which this game was played.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A game formerly common in England, in which a wooden ball was driven with a mallet through an elevated hoop or ring of iron. The name was also given to the mallet used, to the place where the game was played, and to the street, in London, still called Pall Mall.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A game, formerly played, in which a ball of boxwood was struck with a mallet or club, the object being to drive it through a raised ring of iron at the end of an alley. The player who accomplished this with fewest strokes, or within a number agreed on, was the winner.
  • n. The mallet used in this game.
  • n. A place where the game was played.
  • In pall-mall fashion; as in the game of pall-mall.

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

  • n. a 17th century game; a wooden ball was driven along an alley with a mallet

Etymologies

Obsolete French pallemaille, from Italian pallamaglio : palla, ball (of Germanic origin; see bhel-2 in Indo-European roots) + maglio, mallet (from Latin malleus; see melə- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • So they go public with inside dope on the machine they previously had themselves helped to ram pall-mall into our bodies and our hearts.

    Buyer's Remorse: Their Purchase, Our Regret

  • "We can, perhaps, lay out a course of pall-mall here as well," Mary told her Marys, who were dutifully trotting along behind her.

    Mary Queen Of Scotland And The Isles

  • The vast Sala della Palla, where the dukes and their courtiers indulged in their favourite pastime of "pall-mall," which Burckhardt calls the classic game of the Renaissance, was decorated with frescoes by the best artists of Pavia or Cremona, representing fishing and hunting scenes.

    Beatrice d'Este, Duchess of Milan, 1475-1497

  • Frances and I walked over to the park, where we stood for a time watching the Duke of York and John Churchill playing pall-mall, but the day growing cold, we soon continued our walk over to the Serpentine, where we found Tyrconnel and several other gentlemen riding.

    The Touchstone of Fortune

  • One day, a fortnight before Frances's arrival in London, while he and I were watching the royal brothers, King Charles and the Duke of York, playing pall-mall, I expressed my doubts and fears of his ultimate success in reformation so long as he remained in any way associated with Crofts, Berkeley, Wentworth, and others of the vicious clique.

    The Touchstone of Fortune

  • But my answers were always, "Oh, nothing but Castlemain's new tantrum," or "The duke's defeat at pall-mall."

    The Touchstone of Fortune

  • As the game of pall-mall went out of fashion the Mall became a promenade, and was the resort of the Court.

    Westminster The Fascination of London

  • So extensive was the Louvre, so widely separated the different suites of apartments, that Diane and Eustacie had not met after the pall-mall party till they sat opposite to their several queens in the coach driving through the woods, the elder cousin curiously watching the eyes of the younger, so wistfully gazing at the window, and now and then rapidly winking as though to force back a rebellious tear.

    The Chaplet of Pearls

  • Philip Sidney's varied accomplishment and pure lofty character greatly attracted the young King, who had leant on his arm conversing during great part of the ball, and the next morning sent a royal messenger to invite the two young gentlemen to a part at pall-mall in the Tuileries gardens.

    The Chaplet of Pearls

  • Thus the old gentleman, after expressing due rejoicing at his dear young cousin's recovery, and regret at the unfortunate mischance that had led to his confounded with the many suspected Huguenots, proceeded as if matters stood exactly as they had been before the pall-mall party, and as if the decree that he enclosed were obtained in accordance with the young Baron's intentions.

    The Chaplet of Pearls

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