pas·​sel | \ ˈpa-səl How to pronounce passel (audio) \

Definition of passel

: a large number or amount

Keep scrolling for more

Passel and Parcel

The loss of the sound of "r" after a vowel and before another consonant in the middle of a word is common in spoken English. This linguistic idiosyncrasy has given our language a few new words, such as cuss from curse, bust from burst, and our featured word passel from parcel. The spelling passel originated in the 15th century, but the word's use as a collective noun for an indefinite number is a 19th-century Americanism. It was common primarily in local-color writing before getting a boost in the 1940s, when it began appearing in popular weekly magazines such as Time, Newsweek, and Saturday Review.

Examples of passel in a Sentence

reporters had a whole passel of questions for the new basketball coach the young couple had a passel of babies in the span of a few years

Recent Examples on the Web

That phenomenal distance — 5 trillion times farther than Pluto — implies that whatever does the bursting is more energetic than a passel of puppies. Seth Shostak, NBC News, "Fast radio bursts from space have baffled scientists for years. But an explanation may come soon.," 3 Sep. 2019 The House Judiciary Committee voted to issue a passel of new subpoenas Thursday, including one for Jared Kushner, the president’s adviser and son-in-law. Eugene Robinson, The Mercury News, "Robinson: After Mueller testifies, the impeachment question will demand an answer," 14 July 2019 But with Nintendo, Microsoft and a passel of others still in the game, there is more than enough to fill this family friendly list of promising games. Harold Goldberg, Washington Post, "Looking for a family-friendly video game? Give these new titles a look.," 18 June 2019 Bad timing Supermajority or not, Democrats came to the session with a passel of priorities beyond the climate bill: A business gross receipts tax to fund schools, pension reform, rent control, affordable housing and Medicaid taxes., "How Oregon’s climate-change bill ran out of gas," 30 June 2019 Part of the passel of changes that the supervisors supported Tuesday was spending millions this year and next to double the number of people that Palomar Health in inland North County can serve in its crisis stabilization unit. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Supervisors endorse psychiatric services plan, send Tri-City effort back to the drawing board," 26 June 2019 Each is available in lustrous black or indigo blue and decorates a passel of products, from teapots and coffee mugs to fruit bowls and dinner plates. Sarah Medford, WSJ, "A New Transferware Collaboration From Ralph Lauren and Burleigh," 11 Dec. 2018 Photo: Issei Kato/Reuters Next week, Apple is expected to announce a new Apple Watch and AirPods along with a passel of new iPhones. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "In Apple’s Third Act, the iPhone Plays Supporting Role," 6 Sep. 2018 It was nominated for the usual passel of Emmys in the summer of 1993. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The rise, fall, and unlikely return of Murphy Brown, explained," 27 Sep. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of passel

1835, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for passel

alteration of parcel

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about passel

Listen to Our Podcast about passel

Statistics for passel

Last Updated

29 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for passel

The first known use of passel was in 1835

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for passel



English Language Learners Definition of passel

US, informal : a large number or group of people or things

More from Merriam-Webster on passel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with passel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for passel

Comments on passel

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


ancient or antiquated

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Word Puzzles

  • alt 57589b2b4c6a3
  • Which answer pairs best with each of the following words? living, estate, club, music, road, mile
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!