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

  • adv. In a jumbled, confused manner; helter-skelter.
  • adv. In frantic disorderly haste; headlong: "I went to work pell-mell, blotted several sheets of paper with choice floating thoughts” ( Washington Irving).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Hasty, uncontrolled.
  • adv. In haste, uncontrolledly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See pall-mall.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • With confused or indiscriminate violence, energy, or eagerness; indiscriminately; promiscuously; confusedly; in a disorderly mass or manner.
  • Tumultuous; promiscuous; disorderly.
  • n. A mêléc; a confused fight; disorder.
  • To mix up promiscuously; pile in confused heaps.
  • n. A variant of pall-mall.

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

  • adj. with undue hurry and confusion
  • adv. in a wild or reckless manner


French pêle-mêle, from Old French pesle mesle, probably reduplication of mesle, imperative of mesler, to mix; see meddle.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French pêle-mêle This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology. (Wiktionary)



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  • "The rooks were tumbling pell-mell among the violet clouds of autumn."

    - Orlando, Virginia Woolf

    February 7, 2008