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[peyl] /peɪl/
the amount filling a pail.
Origin of pail
before 1000; Middle English payle wooden container, continuing Old English pægel wine container, liquid measure (of unknown orig.; compare Middle Dutch, Low German pegel half pint), by association with Old French paielle pan < Latin patella; see patella
Can be confused
pale, pail, pall, pallor (see synonym study at pale)
Regional variation note
1. See bucket. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pail
  • The treasures could be waiting in a white five-gallon pail or a small clear plastic container.
  • The first step was putting a pail of cream inside a bucket of ice.
  • Minnows can be carried in a minnow bucket or pail one-third filled with water.
  • Near a customer service desk, a broken pipe dripped water from the ceiling into a garbage pail.
  • And someone, after all, might wonder about that peculiarly placed empty pail.
  • He shuffled down a laboratory hallway, side-stepping a swivel-chair and a small garbage pail.
  • Wash your car with a pail of water or turn the hose off between rinses.
  • For big jobs, increase the amounts of all three ingredients and mix in a pail.
  • The cage itself is on display in a shadowy interior gallery, complete with bed, sink and pail.
  • He bathes in a pail of water hauled from a nearby fire hydrant and heated over a gas burner.
British Dictionary definitions for pail


a bucket, esp one made of wood or metal
Also called pailful. the quantity that fills a pail
Word Origin
Old English pægel; compare Catalan paella frying pan, paella
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pail

mid-14c., of uncertain origin, probably from Old French paele, paelle "cooking or frying pan, warming pan;" also a liquid measure, from Latin patella "small pan, little dish, platter," diminutive of patina "broad shallow pan, stewpan" (see pan (n.)).

Old English had pægel "wine vessel," but etymology does not support a connection. This Old English word possibly is from Medieval Latin pagella "a measure," from Latin pagella "column," diminutive of pagina (see page (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pail



The stomach (1950s+ Black)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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