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From Middle English parcel, from Old French parcelle (a small piece or part, a parcel, a particle), from Vulgar Latin *particella, diminutive of Latin particula (particle), diminutive of pars (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: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619:
      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.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, in The Lisson Grove Mystery[1]:
      “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. 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.
  4. (obsolete) A group of birds.
  5. An indiscriminate or indefinite number, measure, or quantity; a collection; a group.
    • c. 1602, William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well, Act II, Scene 3,[2]
      [] this youthful parcel
      Of noble bachelors stand at my bestowing,
    • 1847, Herman Melville, Omoo, Part 2, Chapter 79,[3]
      [] instead of sitting (as she ought to have done) by her good father and mother, she must needs run up into the gallery, and sit with a parcel of giddy creatures of her own age []
  6. A small amount of food that has been wrapped up, for example a pastry.
  7. 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, An essay concerning the nature of aliments, London: J. Tonson, Chapter 4, p. 85,[4]
      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,[5]
      The parcels of the nation adopted different forms of self-government, sought divers foreign alliances.

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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 out or into.
    • 1592, William Shakespeare, Richard III, Act II, Scene 2,[6]
      Their woes are parcell’d, mine are general.
    • 1667, John Dryden, The Indian Emperour, London: H. Herringman, Act I, Scene 2, p. 12,[7]
      Those ghostly Kings would parcel out my pow’r,
      And all the fatness of my Land devour;
    • 1864, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Aylmer’s Field” in Enoch Arden, etc., London: Edward Moxon, pp. 94-95,[8]
      Then the great Hall was wholly broken down,
      And the broad woodland parcell’d into farms;
  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 Latin particula (particle), diminutive of pars (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




parcel m (plural parcéis)

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