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[pan-l] /ˈpæn l/
a distinct portion, section, or division of a wall, wainscot, ceiling, door, shutter, fence, etc., especially of any surface sunk below or raised above the general level or enclosed by a frame or border.
a comparatively thin, flat piece of wood or the like, as a large piece of plywood.
a group of persons gathered to conduct a public discussion, judge a contest, serve as advisers, be players on a radio or television game, or the like:
a panel of political scientists meeting to discuss foreign policy.
a public discussion by such a group.
  1. a list of persons summoned for service as jurors.
  2. the body of persons composing a jury.
  3. (in Scotland) the person or persons arraigned for trial.
a mount for or a surface or section of a machine containing the controls and dials.
Electricity. a switchboard or control board, or a division of a switchboard or control board containing a set of related cords, jacks, relays, etc.
a broad strip of material set vertically in or on a dress, skirt, etc.
  1. a flat piece of wood of varying kinds on which a picture is painted.
  2. a picture painted on such a piece of wood.
(in Britain) a list of approved or cooperating doctors available to patients under a health insurance program.
Aeronautics. a lateral subdivision of an airfoil with internal girder construction.
Engineering, Building Trades.
  1. the space on the chord of a truss between any two adjacent joints made by principal web members with the chord.
  2. the space within the web of a truss between any two such joints and a corresponding pair of joints or a single joint on an opposite chord.
the section between the two bands on the spine of a bound book.
Mining. an area of a coal seam separated for mining purposes from adjacent areas by extra thick masses or ribs of coal.
a pad placed under a saddle.
a pad, cloth, or the like, serving as a saddle.
a pane, as in a window.
a slip of parchment.
a photograph much longer in one dimension than the other.
verb (used with object), paneled, paneling or (especially British) panelled, panelling.
to arrange in or furnish with a panel or panels.
to ornament with a panel or panels.
to set in a frame as a panel.
to select (a jury).
Scots Law. to bring to trial.
Origin of panel
1250-1300; Middle English < Old French panel a piece (of anything), diminutive of pan piece of cloth or the like. See pane, -elle
Related forms
repanel, verb (used with object), repaneled, repaneling or (especially British) repanelled, repanelling.
subpanel, noun
unpaneled, adjective
unpanelled, adjective
Can be confused
Usage note Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for panel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Again and again his eyes went to the little clock on the panel.

  • This time he did not desist until he had broken through the panel.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Mornings and evenings they used to open this panel and talk to each other.

    Out of the Air Inez Haynes Irwin
  • She lifted the latch, and set her shoulder against the panel.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
  • If the panel is badly fitted or stuck, it may buckle or split, or the frame be split or forced apart at the joints.

    Woodworking for Beginners Charles Gardner Wheeler
British Dictionary definitions for panel


a flat section of a wall, door, etc
any distinct section or component of something formed from a sheet of material, esp of a car body, the spine of a book, etc
a piece of material inserted in a skirt, dress, etc
  1. a group of persons selected to act as a team in a quiz, to judge a contest, to discuss a topic before an audience, etc
  2. (as modifier): a panel game
a public discussion by such a group: a panel on public health
  1. a list of persons summoned for jury service
  2. the persons on a specific jury
(Scots law) a person indicted or accused of crime after appearing in court
  1. a thin board used as a surface or backing for an oil painting
  2. a painting done on such a surface
any picture with a length much greater than its breadth
(formerly, in Britain)
  1. a list of patients insured under the National Health Insurance Scheme
  2. a list of medical practitioners within a given area available for consultation by these patients
(Brit, informal) on the panel, receiving sickness benefit, esp from the government
verb (transitive) -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to furnish or decorate with panels
to divide into panels
  1. to empanel (a jury)
  2. (in Scotland) to bring (a person) to trial; indict
Word Origin
C13: from Old French: portion, from pan piece of cloth, from Latin pannus; see pane1
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 panel

early 14c., from Old French panel "piece of cloth, piece, saddle cushion" (Modern French panneau), from Vulgar Latin *pannellus, diminutive of Latin pannus "piece of cloth" (see pane). Anglo-French legalese sense of "piece of parchment (cloth) listing jurors" led by late 14c. to meaning "jury." General sense of "persons called on to advise, judge, discuss," etc. is from 1570s. Sense of "distinct part of surface of a wall, door, etc." is first recorded c.1600.


mid-15c., "to empanel," from panel (n.). From 1630s as "to furnish (a room) with panels." Related: Paneled; paneling; panelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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