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  • IPA(key): /ˈfɑː(ɹ)dəl/
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

A clipped form of Middle English ferthendel (literally fourth part), equivalent to fourth +‎ deal. Cognate with Dutch vierendeel (a fourth part, quarter), German Viertel (a quarter, fourth), Danish fjerdedel (a quarter), Swedish fjärdedel (a fourth, quarter).

Alternative forms[edit]


fardel (plural fardels)

  1. A fourth part: a quarter of anything.
    • c. 1666, W. Sutherland in R. Wodrow's The history of the sufferings of the Church of Scotland, from the Restauration to the Revolution, volume I, Appendix: page 101:
      I... bought a Farthel of Bread and a Mutckin of Ale.
  2. (historical) An English unit of land area variously understood as the fourth part of an oxgang or of a yardland.
    • a. 1634, W. Noye, The Complete Lawyer, 57:
      You must note, that two Fardells of Land make a Nooke of Land, and two Nookes make halfe a Yard of Land.
    • 1706, Phillips's New World of Words:
      Fardel of Land, the fourth part of a Yard-land.
  • (fourth of anything): See quarter
  • (fourth of a yardland): See nook
  • (fourth of anything): See third (1+13 quarters & for smaller subdivisions)
  • (fourth of a yardland): See oxgang (2 fardels & for larger divisions)
  • (fourth of an oxgang): See nook (2 fardels & for larger divisions)
  • (fourth of anything): See fifth (45 of a quarter & for smaller subdivisions)
  • (unit of land area): See acre (Various & for small subdivisions)
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English fardel, from Old French fardel (pack, bundle), from Spanish fardel, diminutive of fardo (pack, bundle), from Arabic فَرْد(fard, one of a pair), as applied to saddlebags.

Alternative forms[edit]


fardel (plural fardels)

  1. (obsolete) A bundle or burden.
    • 1597–1598, T[homas] M[iddleton], “Satyre 2. Prodigall Zodon.”, in Micro-cynicon: Sixe Snarling Satyres. [], imprinted at London: By Thomas Creede, for Thomas Bushell, [], published 1599, OCLC 837469775; republished as [Edward Vernon Utterson], editor, Micro-cynicon: Sixe Snarling Satyres, [Ryde, Isle of Wight?]: Reprinted at the Beldornie Press, by G. E. Palmer, for Edwd. V. Utterson, 1842, OCLC 1008051468:
      Hees forc't to trot with fardle at his backe, / From houſe to houſe, demaunding if they lacke / A poore yong man that's willing to take paine, / And mickle labour, though for little gaine.
    • c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke: [] (Second Quarto), London: [] I[ames] R[oberts] for N[icholas] L[ing] [], published 1604, OCLC 760858814, [Act III, scene i]:
      [W]ho would fardels beare / To grunt and ſweat vnder a wearie life, / But that the dread of ſomething after death, / The vndiſcouer'd country, from whoſe borne / No trauiler returnes, puzzels the will, / And makes vs rather beare thoſe ills we haue, / Then flie to others that we know not of.
    • 1855 [1606], Henry Middleton, Bolton Corney (editor), The Voyage of Sir Henry Middleton to Bantam and the Maluco Islands, page 13 (of Appendix):
      It doth also appear by the abbreviate of the accounts sent home out of the Indies, that there remained in the hands of the agent, master Starkey, 482 fardels of calicos, viz.: 8 canisters of pintados, and 117 fardels of checkered stuffs, 51 fardels of long malow girdles, [].
    • 1897, Francis Thompson, “[Miscellaneous Odes.] An Anthem of Earth.”, in New Poems, Westminster [London]: Archibald Constable and Co., OCLC 906109011, anthem, page 139:
      This to the shunless fardel of the world / Nerves my uncurbèd back; []
    • 1954, Anya Seyton, Katherine:
      “God in his mercy be thanked” said Katherine. “My dear Lord is then truly and honestly rid of his fardel.”


fardel (third-person singular simple present fardels, present participle fardelling or fardeling, simple past and past participle fardelled or fardeled)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To make up in fardels; to bunch.
    • 1607, Andrew Willet, Loidoromastix:
      Here are foure vntruths fardelled vp together