Definitions

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

  • adverb In a jumbled, confused manner; helter-skelter.
  • adverb In frantic disorderly haste; headlong.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

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

  • noun See pall-mall.

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

  • adjective Hasty, uncontrolled.
  • adverb In haste, uncontrolledly.

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

  • adjective with undue hurry and confusion
  • adverb in a wild or reckless manner

Etymologies

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

[French pêle-mêle, from Old French pesle mesle, probably reduplication of mesle, imperative of mesler, to mix; see meddle.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French pêle-mêle This definition is lacking an etymology or has an incomplete etymology. You can help Wiktionary by giving it a proper etymology.

Examples

  • Nobody scored more than the Bulgarian's 20 league goals last season, and his finishing is hallmarked by the composure that would surely have brought order to Saturday's pell-mell chaos.

    Manchester United lose killer instinct while Dimitar Berbatov waits

  • This was little more than a large house overstuffed with prize pieces salvaged during the pell-mell escape from the capital.

    Fire The Sky

  • The chaotic retreat illustrated the often pell-mell nature of rebel operations, in which laborers and teachers with little training are left to find rides to the front in private vehicles.

    Gaddafi intensifies campaign

  • She offered nothing that Sophia had been brought up to consider as love-worthy or estimable, for what good qualities she had must be accepted with their opposites, in an inconsequential pell-mell of wheat and tares.

    Commonplace

  • Anyway, the BIG story here is that one honest woman was able to do what pack of university trustees and fellows and so on couldn't or wouldn't do: stop ND's pell-mell pursuit of cozy relations with the politically correct even when it means honoring abortionism's standard bearer.

    Former Laetare Medalist to deliver address at Notre Dame's commencement

  • The chaotic retreat illustrated the often pell-mell nature of rebel operations, in which laborers and teachers with little training are left to find rides to the front in private vehicles.

    Gaddafi intensifies campaign

  • This was little more than a large house overstuffed with prize pieces salvaged during the pell-mell escape from the capital.

    Fire The Sky

  • I ran pell-mell down the bleachers, forgetting about my supposedly sprained ankle, and grabbed the nearest fan.

    The Dark Side of Innocence

  • The shortfall is widely blamed on the pell-mell panic inside MF Global to keep the securities firm alive long enough to arrange a sale.

    Money From MF Global Feared Gone

  • She offered nothing that Sophia had been brought up to consider as love-worthy or estimable, for what good qualities she had must be accepted with their opposites, in an inconsequential pell-mell of wheat and tares.

    "One could love her for the only sufficient reason that one chose to."

Comments

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

    - Orlando, Virginia Woolf

    February 7, 2008