pel·​let | \ˈpe-lət \

Definition of pellet 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a usually small rounded, spherical, or cylindrical body (as of food or medicine)

b : a wad of indigestible material (as of bones and fur) regurgitated by a bird of prey

2 : any of various projectiles fired from a weapon (such as an air rifle)


pelleted; pelleting; pellets

Definition of pellet (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : pelletize

2 : to strike with pellets

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pellet


pelletal \ ˈpe-​lə-​tᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms for pellet

Synonyms: Noun

ball, bullet

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of pellet in a Sentence


the tightly packed pellets of a shotgun cartridge

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Holtzman, a 42-year-old construction worker, shrugged off his own injuries, saying the pellets just burned. NBC News, "Unlocked And loaded: Families confront dementia and guns," 26 June 2018 When Pogreba briefly turned back in their direction still holding the gun, the boy again fired the shotgun, with most of the pellets spraying the foliage beyond his father — though the boy thought some may have struck his father as well. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here's what authorities say happened leading up to a massive manhunt for Jonathan Pogreba in Eagle," 7 June 2018 Holtzman, a 42-year-old construction worker, shrugged off his own injuries, saying the pellets just burned. NBC News, "Unlocked And loaded: Families confront dementia and guns," 26 June 2018 Holtzman, a 42-year-old construction worker, shrugged off his own injuries, saying the pellets just burned. Washington Post, "Unlocked And Loaded: Families Confront Dementia And Guns," 25 June 2018 The webworms are gone and only pellets of excrement remain in the web. Ellen Nibali,, "Garden Q&A: Be wary of the 'bathtub effect'," 12 July 2018 Instead of burning split and seasoned hardwood, these gizmos, from $400 to $1,000, are fueled by what looks like rabbit food, small pellets of compressed sawdust. Richard A. Marini, San Antonio Express-News, "S.A.’s money’s no object, high-end outdoor kitchens," 2 July 2018 The solution flows upward through tiny pellets of calcium carbonate, keeping them suspended. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Machines that suck CO₂ from the air might be cheaper than we thought," 7 June 2018 This produces potassium hydroxide, which is recycled back to the contactor, and pellets of calcium carbonate. The Economist, "Extracting carbon dioxide from the air is possible. But at what cost?," 7 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Spread a light layer of compost or pelleted seed establishment mulch over the new seed to help keep it moist. Tim Johnson,, "Lawn thinning out beneath a cluster of trees? Too much shade could be wreaking havoc," 10 July 2018 Snow pellets form when supercooled water droplets are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Light snow showers and snow pellets possible today in southeastern Wisconsin," 21 Dec. 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pellet


Middle English pelote, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *pilota, diminutive of Latin pila ball

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pellet

Statistics for pellet

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pellet

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pellet



English Language Learners Definition of pellet

: a small, hard ball of food, medicine, etc.

: a small metal object that is shot from a gun


pel·​let | \ˈpe-lət \

Kids Definition of pellet

1 : a little ball (as of food or medicine)

2 : a piece of small shot

3 : a wad of material (as bones and fur) that cannot be digested and has been thrown up by a bird of prey (as an owl)


pel·​let | \ˈpel-ət \

Medical Definition of pellet 

: a usually small rounded or spherical body specifically : a small cylindrical or ovoid compressed mass (as of a hormone) that is implanted subcutaneously for slow absorption into bodily tissues

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on pellet

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


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!