1. A small, solid or densely packed ball or mass, as of food, wax, or medicine.
a. A bullet or piece of small shot.
b. A stone ball, used as a catapult missile or a primitive cannonball.
tr.v. pel·let·ed, pel·let·ing, pel·lets
1. To make or form into pellets.
2. To strike with pellets.
[Middle English pelet, from Old French pelote, from Vulgar Latin *pilotta, diminutive of Latin pila, ball; akin to pilus, hair (since the balls used in ancient Roman games were stuffed with hair).]
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.