Likely from Old English pæġel (“wine vessel, container for liquids, pail; a liquid measure”), from Proto-West Germanic *pagil, from Proto-Indo-European *bak- (“peg, club”), equivalent to peg + -le. Compare Middle Dutch pegel (“half-pint”), Danish pægl (“half-pint”).
Alternatively from Old French paielle (“frying pan, warming pan; a liquid measure”), from Latin patella (“small pan, shallow dish, platter”), diminutive of patina (“broad shallow pan, stewpan”). Perhaps a conflation of both.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /peɪl/, [pʰeɪ̯ɫ], [pʰeəɫ], enPR: pāl
- (US) IPA(key): /ˈpeɪ.jəl/, /peɪl/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -eɪl
- Homophone: pale
pail (plural pails)
- 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).
- Synonym: bucket
- The milkmaid carried a pail of milk in each hand.
- (In technical use) A closed (covered) cylindrical shipping container.
- (body) hair