c.1300, "part" (sense preserved in phrase parcel of land
), from O.Fr. parcelle
"small piece, particle, parcel," from V.L. *particella,
dim. of L. particula,
dim. of pars
) "part" (see part
). Meaning "package" is first recorded c.1645. The verb meaning "to divide into small portions" is from 1584.