\ ˈpāl How to pronounce pail (audio) \

Definition of pail

1 : a usually cylindrical container with a handle : bucket a milk pail
2 : the quantity that a pail contains a pail of water

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Other Words from pail

pailful \ -​ˌfu̇l How to pronounce pailful (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for pail



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Examples of pail in a Sentence

A plastic beach pail was lying on the sand. She poured a pail of water on the campfire.

Recent Examples on the Web

By the clubhouse entrance a wall light illuminated the backless wooden bench and pail of sand that denoted the smoking area. Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "The Alps," 22 July 2019 The waste is transferred into open 5-gallon pails left at street corners for crews to pick up. Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY, "As homeless are suffering, risk of hepatitis, typhus and other diseases is growing," 18 June 2019 Unfazed, Mewis grabs a plastic kitchen garbage pail, strategically places it beneath the leak, and moves on. Globe Staff,, "Riding along on Sam Mewis’s whirlwind World Cup victory tour," 15 July 2019 Caregivers should also empty any water from containers, such as pails, buckets and kiddie pools, immediately after use. Amy Chillag, CNN, "Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for young children. Here's how to prevent it," 3 July 2019 New York’s ban would grant exceptions to food takeout bags, bags used to wrap meat or deli products, garment bags, and bags sold in bulk, including garbage pail liner bags. Laura Parker, National Geographic, "New York State to ban plastic bags—here's why," 29 Mar. 2019 There was no spaghetti served in pails, but volunteers would show up, people who had heard that the walkers were back and had nothing to eat, and out of nowhere, seemingly, bowls of soup would materialize, along with baskets of fruit. Rebecca Bengal, Vogue, "The Power of Nathan Phillips’s Song," 21 Jan. 2019 Last year, some youngsters brought metal pails, others brought buckets or rain sticks and someone brought a tambourine to add to the percussive music. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Welcome summer with drumming celebration on Waukegan Beach," 3 June 2019 Take the bareroot Wisteria and soak the roots in a pail of water for a few hours. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Home Depot is Selling Wisteria Trees You Can Plant in Your Backyard—For Just $23," 16 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pail

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pail

Middle English payle, paille

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Statistics for pail

Last Updated

7 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for pail

The first known use of pail was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of pail

chiefly US
: a round container that is open at the top and usually has a handle
: the amount held by a pail


\ ˈpāl How to pronounce pail (audio) \

Kids Definition of pail

1 : a usually round container with a handle : bucket
2 : pailful He poured out a pail of water.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pail

Spanish Central: Translation of pail

Nglish: Translation of pail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pail for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pail

What made you want to look up pail? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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