Definitions

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

  • n. Something wrapped up or packaged; a package.
  • n. A plot of land, usually a division of a larger area.
  • n. A quantity of merchandise offered for sale.
  • n. A group or company; a pack: "this youthful parcel of noble bachelors” ( Shakespeare).
  • transitive v. To divide into parts and distribute: parceled out the land to their three children.
  • transitive v. To make into a parcel; package.
  • transitive v. Nautical To wind protective strips of canvas around (rope).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A package wrapped for shipment.
  • n. An individual consignment of cargo for shipment, regardless of size and form.
  • n. A division of land bought and sold as a unit.
  • n. A group of birds.
  • n. A group of people.
  • n. A small amount of food that has been wrapped up, for example a pastry.
  • v. To wrap something up into the form of a package.
  • v. To wrap a strip around the end of a rope.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A portion of anything taken separately; a fragment of a whole; a part.
  • n. A part; a portion; a piece.
  • n. An indiscriminate or indefinite number, measure, or quantity; a collection; a group.
  • n. A number or quantity of things put up together; a bundle; a package; a packet.
  • transitive v. To divide and distribute by parts or portions; -- often with out or into.
  • transitive v. To add a parcel or item to; to itemize.
  • transitive v. To make up into a parcel
  • Part or half; in part; partially.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A part, either taken separately or belonging to a whole.
  • n. A separable, separate, or distinct part or portion or section, as of land.
  • n. A constituent or integral part: used frequently in the phrase part and parcel.
  • n. A fragment; piece; bit.
  • n. An item or particular; a detail.
  • n. An indefinite number, quantity, or measure forming a group, mass, or lot: as, a parcel of fools; a parcel of rubbish.
  • n. A number of things wrapped or otherwise put up together; a package, containing a number of articles or a single one; a small bundle.
  • n. plural In law, that part of a deed or conveyance which describes the property conveyed, together with the boundaries thereof, in order to its easy identification.
  • n. Same as parceling, 1.
  • To divide into parts or portions: generally with out.
  • To particularize; specify.
  • To cover with strips of canvas; wrap with parceling.
  • Partly; in part; partially; to some extent.

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

  • n. an extended area of land
  • v. cover with strips of canvas
  • n. the allotment of some amount by dividing something
  • n. a collection of things wrapped or boxed together
  • n. a wrapped container
  • v. make into a wrapped container
  • v. divide into parts

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, portion, from Vulgar Latin *particella, diminutive of Latin particula, diminutive of pars, part-, part; see perə-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French parcelle ("a small piece or part, a parcel, a particle"), from Medieval Latin particella, contr. parcella ("a parcel"), dim. of Latin particula ("particle"), diminutive of pars ("part, piece"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Pass the parcel is a good way of getting them all to sit down for a bit …

    party planner

  • This parcel is a right treasure trove - lots of little bits of fabric in various materials - some hand-dyed cotton, some velvet, some sheer stuff, some silk and just other stuff.

    Fastenings, Day 2

  • That "parcel" is right next to a parcel of our own and I think about how easy it would be for Monsieur Blanc, who loves to garden, to expand his project south ... then we all could enjoy the fruits of his labor!

    Recette / Recipe

  • The repiggie voluminous “solutions” parcel is probably a lot like a Philadelphia bankroll.

    Think Progress » A guide to debunking Republican talking points at the health care summit.

  • Army, signed a document transferring the last parcel from the Army to the U.S.

    Rocky Mountain Arsenal Now Officially A Wildlife Refuge

  • We had a bag of mail come about March, I had a couple of letters from my sisters and a parcel from a friend.

    John Keay

  • Two weeks later we had a parcel from the British Red Cross.

    John Keay

  • Part in parcel with that movement was the revival of the conical form of the chasuble and fuller forms of the dalmatic and tunicle; something which was particularly seen (though not exclusively seen) within the monastic context of the Liturgical Movement.

    Vestments in a Style of the Monastic Element of the 20th Century Liturgical Movement

  • For those who keep score, the annual lease for the 42. 2-acre parcel is $3.66 million, or nearly triple the $1.3 million the top Google execs pay each year to land two Boeing 767s and at least two Gulfstream Vs at Moffett Field.

    Google Plans Major Expansion in Its Backyard - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com

  • Writer Cherie Priest, author of Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Wings to the Kingdom, Dreadful Skin and Not Flesh Nor Feathers, received this bizarre note from the postal service that seems to be reassuring her that the barbecue sauce on her parcel is not a weapon of mass destruction.

    Postal Reassurance « Skid Roche

Comments

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  • It's weird, most Romance and Germanic languages uses a cognate of packet for this. It doesn't appear to be clearly broken down by language families though, this is probably an example of borrowing, especially given the context in which it is used.

    October 22, 2007