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From Middle English parcel, from Old French parcelle (a small piece or part, a parcel, a particle), from Late Latin particella, diminutive of Latin particula (particle), diminutive of partem (part, piece). Doublet of particle.



parcel (plural parcels)

  1. A package wrapped for shipment.
    Synonym: package
    I saw a brown paper parcel on my doorstep.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter II, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC:
      At twilight in the summer [] the mice come out. They [] eat the luncheon crumbs. Mr. Checkly, for instance, always brought his dinner in a paper parcel in his coat-tail pocket, and ate it when so disposed, sprinkling crumbs lavishly [] on the floor.
    • 1904–1905, Baroness Orczy [i.e., Emma Orczy], “The Lisson Grove Mystery”, in The Case of Miss Elliott, London: T[homas] Fisher Unwin, published 1905, →OCLC; republished as popular edition, London: Greening & Co., 1909, OCLC 11192831, quoted in The Case of Miss Elliott (ebook no. 2000141h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg of Australia, February 2020:
      “H'm !” he said, “so, so—it is a tragedy in a prologue and three acts. I am going down this afternoon to see the curtain fall for the third time on what [] will prove a good burlesque ; but it all began dramatically enough. It was last Saturday [] that two boys, playing in the little spinney just outside Wembley Park Station, came across three large parcels done up in American cloth. []
  2. An individual consignment of cargo for shipment, regardless of size and form.
  3. An individual item appearing on an invoice or receipt (only in the phrase bill of parcels).
  4. A division of land bought and sold as a unit.
    Synonym: plot
    I own a small parcel of land between the refinery and the fish cannery.
  5. (obsolete) A group of birds.
  6. An indiscriminate or indefinite number, measure, or quantity; a collection; a group.
  7. A small amount of food that has been wrapped up, for example a pastry.
  8. A portion of anything taken separately; a fragment of a whole; a part.
    A certain piece of land is part and parcel of another piece.
    • 1731, John Arbuthnot, chapter 4, in An essay concerning the nature of aliments[1], London: J. Tonson, page 85:
      The same Experiments succeed on two Parcels of the White of an Egg []
    • 1881, John Addington Symonds, The Renaissance in Italy, Volume 5, Part I, New York: Henry Holt, Chapter 1, p. 2,[2]
      The parcels of the nation adopted different forms of self-government, sought divers foreign alliances.
    • 1982 April 3, “Mousie Mousie Wildflower”, in Gay Community News, page 15:
      I don't think we are sitting pretty / So far away from our fair city / But I love you more than any parcel of earth.

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parcel (third-person singular simple present parcels, present participle parceling or parcelling, simple past and past participle parceled or parcelled)

  1. To wrap something up into the form of a package.
  2. To wrap a strip around the end of a rope.
    Worm and parcel with the lay; turn and serve the other way.
  3. To divide and distribute by parts or portions; often with off, out or into.
  4. To add a parcel or item to; to itemize.



parcel (not comparable)

  1. (obsolete) Part or half; in part; partially.

Further reading[edit]




Borrowed from French parcelle (parcel), from Late Latin particella, diminutive of Latin particula (particle), diminutive of partem (part).



parcel c (singular definite parcellen, plural indefinite parceller)

  1. parcel, lot (subdivided piece of land registred independently in official records)
  2. (informal) detached house
    Synonym: parcelhus





  • Hyphenation: par‧cel


parcel m (plural parcéis)

  1. a shoal, a sandbank
    Synonyms: vau, vado, baixo, baixio, esparcel, restinga, sirte