1. Something wrapped up or packaged; a package.
2. A plot of land, usually a division of a larger area.
3. A quantity of merchandise offered for sale.
4. A group or company; a pack: "this youthful parcel of noble bachelors" (Shakespeare).
tr.v. par·celed, par·cel·ing, par·cels also par·celled or par·cel·ling
1. To divide into parts and distribute: parceled out the land to their three children.
2. To make into a parcel; package.
3. Nautical To wind protective strips of canvas around (rope).
[Middle English, from Old French, portion, from Vulgar Latin *particella, diminutive of Latin particula, diminutive of pars, part-, part; see perə-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.