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[pak-it] /ˈpæk ɪt/
a small group or package of anything:
a packet of letters.
Also called packet boat, packet ship. a small vessel that carries mail, passengers, and goods regularly on a fixed route, especially on rivers or along coasts.
Cards. a part of a pack of cards after being cut.
Informal. a large amount of money.
Digital Technology. a relatively small unit of data sent over a network:
Every email you send and web page you browse is transferred to and from your device in a series of packets.
British Slang.
  1. a painful blow or beating.
  2. misfortune or failure.
verb (used with object)
to bind up in a package or parcel.
Origin of packet
1520-30; < Middle French pacquet, equivalent to pacqu(er) to pack1 + -et -et Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for packet
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She thrust the packet into a side pocket and started to the garage with the coat.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • We have just hoisted the nun-lady on board an English packet.

  • You see me in the plight in which I came out of the packet within this half-hour.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • She picked up a packet of the chocolate and looked at the name of the maker.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • My father began to open his morning's packet of letters and newspapers.

British Dictionary definitions for packet


a small or medium-sized container of cardboard, paper, etc, often together with its contents: a packet of biscuits Usual US and Canadian word package, pack
a small package; parcel
Also called packet boat. a boat that transports mail, passengers, goods, etc, on a fixed short route
(slang) a large sum of money: to cost a packet
(computing) a unit into which a larger piece of data is broken down for more efficient transmission See also packet switching
(transitive) to wrap up in a packet or as a packet
Word Origin
C16: from Old French pacquet, from pacquer to pack, from Old Dutch pak a pack
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for packet

mid-15c., from Middle English pak "bundle" (see pack (n.)) + diminutive suffix -et; perhaps modeled on Anglo-French pacquet (Middle French pacquet), which ultimately is a diminutive of Middle Dutch pak. A packet boat (1640s) originally was one that carried mails. Packet-switching attested from 1971.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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