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pell-mell

or pell·mell

[pel-mel]
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adverb
  1. in disorderly, headlong haste; in a recklessly hurried manner.
  2. in a confused or jumbled mass, crowd, manner, etc.: The crowd rushed pell-mell into the store when the doors opened.
adjective
  1. indiscriminate; disorderly; confused: a pell-mell dash after someone.
  2. overhasty or precipitate; rash: pell-mell spending.
noun
  1. a confused or jumbled mass, crowd, etc.
  2. disorderly, headlong haste.

Origin of pell-mell

1570–80; < Middle French pelemele, Old French pesle mesle, rhyming compound based on mesler to mix. See meddle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pell-mell

pell-mell

adverb
  1. in a confused headlong rushthe hounds ran pell-mell into the yard
  2. in a disorderly mannerthe things were piled pell-mell in the room
adjective
  1. disordered; tumultuousa pell-mell rush for the exit
noun
  1. disorder; confusion

Word Origin

C16: from Old French pesle-mesle, jingle based on mesler to meddle
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

Word Origin and History for pell-mell

adv.

"confusedly," 1570s, from Middle French pêle-mêle, from Old French pesle mesle (12c.), apparently a jingling rhyme on the second element, which is from the stem of the verb mesler "to mix, mingle" (see meddle). Phonetic French form pelly melly is attested in English from mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pell-mell in Culture

pell-mell

In a confused, disorderly manner: “After the assembly, the students ran pell-mell from the auditorium.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.