par·​cel | \ ˈpär-səl How to pronounce parcel (audio) \

Definition of parcel

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : a tract or plot of land a parcel of real estate
2a : a wrapped bundle : package The parcel was shipped today.
b : a unit of salable merchandise a parcel in an auction
3 : a company, collection, or group of persons, animals, or things : lot The whole story was a parcel of lies. a parcel of giddy young kids— Mark Twain
4a : fragment, portion sold his stocks by parcels
b : a volume of a fluid (such as air) considered as a single entity within a greater volume of the same fluid


parceled or parcelled; parceling or parcelling\ ˈpär-​s(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce parcelling (audio) \

Definition of parcel (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to divide into parts : distribute often used with out
2 : to make up into a parcel : wrap
3 : to cover (something, such as a rope) with strips of canvas or tape



Definition of parcel (Entry 3 of 4)



Definition of parcel (Entry 4 of 4)

: partly

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Examples of parcel in a Sentence


a parcel of real estate her absurd explanation for the collision was a parcel of lies

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Even the National Park Service in Utah recently raised concerns about parcels being up for lease next to the Hovenweep National Monument, attempting to protect an area known for being near 1,000-year-old village sites. Maia Wikler, Teen Vogue, "Activists Protest Bureau of Land Management Leasing That Allow Oil and Gas Drilling on Public Lands," 15 Apr. 2019 As people shop more online, companies like Amazon are turning to independent contractors—essentially anyone with a car—to drop parcels at homes and businesses. Alana Semuels, The Atlantic, "I Delivered Packages for Amazon and It Was a Nightmare," 25 June 2018 Victor, who helped found the beautifulPB nonprofit advocacy group, said the site would be ideal for a vibrant community featuring residents of all ages, noting that the developer owns an adjacent parcel that could have been included. David Garrick,, "Pacific Beach residents fighting project they say isn't dense enough," 25 June 2018 There is a nearby precedent: A former parcel station on St. Paul Street, where packages were once transferred to trains, was restored a decade ago and remains a neighborhood asset. Jacques Kelly,, "Jacques Kelly: Penn Station still a neighborhood showpiece, and potential powerhouse," 2 June 2018 The land parcels ended up going the oil and gas industry for as little as $3 an acre. Maia Wikler, Teen Vogue, "Activists Protest Bureau of Land Management Leasing That Allow Oil and Gas Drilling on Public Lands," 15 Apr. 2019 The secretaries toured a parcel of forested land that had been aggressively managed in recent years to remove flammable brush, and called for easing federal and state regulations requiring environmental reviews before such work can take place. Jonathan J. Cooper, The Seattle Times, "Zinke says Northern California fire costs likely in billions," 27 Nov. 2018 Part of the land the permission wall sits on is part of a 9,500 square foot parcel of land that quietly went up for sale in April; EHomes Realty listed the property at 2936-2940 West Medill Avenue for $2.1 million. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Arts / Hip-Hop / Visual Art Is Logan Square's graffiti permission wall in danger?," 14 June 2018 Humble Independent School District has acquired a parcel of land in the Lakewood Pines subdivision in Atascocita for a new elementary school. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Humble ISD buys site for new elementary school," 6 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

One effect of this parceling out was that reading the novel of adultery began to resemble committing adultery: the slow unfolding of a stranger’s character, the agonizing sense of being at the mercy of another’s whims. Daniel Mendelsohn, Town & Country, "How Infidelity Helped Create the Novel," 2 May 2019 Unlike other tanks, Tigers were primarily assigned to independent heavy tank battalions of 45 tanks each that the high command parceled to help out in particularly tough battles. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Was the Famous German Tiger Tank Really That Great?," 20 Dec. 2018 The rival courts of England, Spain, France and Holland were perpetually at war with one another, and parceling up the riches of the New World became an extension of their Continental conflicts. Rinker Buck, WSJ, "‘Black Flags, Blue Waters’ Review: To Live and Die a Pirate King," 26 Sep. 2018 Alexander Wang will put out part of a new collection in October, and parcel out additional drops in November, December, February and March. Ray A. Smith, WSJ, "Designers Hope ‘Drops’ Make You Shop," 23 July 2018 The shape of the house is simple—just a rectangular volume—but it’s been cleverly parceled into an interesting flow of rooms and spaces, including a large outdoor patio that feels like an extension of the living room. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Modern prefab house was constructed in a month," 28 Aug. 2018 As in the Dead Space games, information about the crew and the events that led them to evacuate the Origin are parceled out in the form of recordings and computer data. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "YouTube’s tech-noir series Origin is Lost… in space," 14 Nov. 2018 In the late nineteenth century, many saw physical energy as a finite resource that had to be carefully parceled out, not a power that could be renewed through exercise. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "The Wheel, the Woman, and the Human Body," 6 July 2018 This week, the Madison-area Democrat will make his legislative push. introducing a bill in the House of Representatives to end ICE and set up a commission to parcel out essential enforcement duties to other agencies. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Mark Pocan push to abolish ICE reverberates in Wisconsin U.S. Senate race," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'parcel.' 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 parcel


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for parcel

Noun, Verb, Adjective, and Adverb

Middle English, from Anglo-French parcele, from Vulgar Latin *particella, from Latin particula small part — more at particle

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Statistics for parcel

Last Updated

6 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for parcel

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

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More Definitions for parcel



English Language Learners Definition of parcel

: a section or area of land
: a box or large envelope that is usually given, sent, or delivered to a person


par·​cel | \ ˈpär-səl How to pronounce parcel (audio) \

Kids Definition of parcel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : a plot of land


parceled or parcelled; parceling or parcelling

Kids Definition of parcel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to divide and give out by parts We parceled out the candy.


par·​cel | \ ˈpär-səl How to pronounce parcel (audio) \

Legal Definition of parcel

: a tract or plot of land

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More from Merriam-Webster on parcel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with parcel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for parcel

Spanish Central: Translation of parcel

Nglish: Translation of parcel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of parcel for Arabic Speakers

Comments on parcel

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


to mark by some ceremony or observation

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