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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Evelyn looked on for a while, and finally took up a pail and began milking, too.

  • Take it out with a wooden ladle, and put it into a small tub or pail.

  • "Get a pail of water and throw it over your dad, Sophia," said Mrs. Holbrooke.

    A California Girl Edward Eldridge
  • Then he went forward, and drew the pail from Amelia's unwilling grasp.

    Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
  • Suppose you wanted to lift the pail with the least possible effort, where would you put your hand?

    Common Science Carleton W. Washburne
  • But the others could find no fault with it, and Sereno drained the pail.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • One afternoon, Lydia took her pail to get some water from the swollen stream running by the door.

  • Ichabod had been holding a pail of water so that a horse might drink.

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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