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pellet

[pel-it]
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noun
  1. a small, rounded or spherical body, as of food or medicine.
  2. a small wad or ball of wax, paper, etc., for throwing, shooting, or the like.
  3. one of a charge of small shot, as for a shotgun.
  4. a bullet.
  5. a ball, usually of stone, formerly used as a missile.
  6. Also called cast. Ornithology. a small, roundish mass of matter regurgitated by certain predatory birds, consisting of the indigestible remains, as the fur, feathers, and bones, of the prey.
  7. (in Romanesque architecture) a hemispherical or disklike carved ornament.
  8. Heraldry. ogress2.
verb (used with object)
  1. to form into pellets; pelletize.
  2. to hit with pellets.

Origin of pellet

1325–75; Middle English pelet < Middle French pelote < Vulgar Latin *pilotta, diminutive of Latin pila ball. See pill1, -et
Related formspel·let·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pellet

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He held the pellet above the mouth of the bottle, but his eyes were on his pupils.

  • The maiden took the pellet into her mouth again and said: “Now all is well!”

  • The pellet began to glow fiercely, throwing off an intense heat.

    The Martian Cabal

    Roman Frederick Starzl

  • Gregory nodded bleakly, sobering at once, and swallowed the pellet.

    Homesick

    Lyn Venable

  • That is, the motion looked like a toss, but the pellet traveled like a bullet.

    Masters of Space

    Edward Elmer Smith


British Dictionary definitions for pellet

pellet

noun
  1. a small round ball, esp of compressed mattera wax pellet
    1. an imitation bullet used in toy guns
    2. a piece of small shot
  2. a stone ball formerly used as a catapult or cannon missile
  3. Also called: cast, casting ornithol a mass of undigested food, including bones, fur, feathers, etc, that is regurgitated by certain birds, esp birds of prey
  4. a small pill
  5. a raised area on coins and carved or moulded ornaments
verb (tr)
  1. to strike with pellets
  2. to make or form into pellets

Word Origin

C14: from Old French pelote, from Vulgar Latin pilota (unattested), from Latin pila ball
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 pellet

n.

mid-14c., from Old French pelote "small ball" (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *pilotta, diminutive of Latin pila "ball, playing ball, the game of ball," perhaps originally "ball of hair," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)).

v.

"to form into pellets," 1590s, from pellet (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pellet in Medicine

pellet

(pĕlĭt)
n.
  1. A small pill; a pilule.
  2. A small rod-shaped or ovoid mass, as of compressed steroid hormones, intended for subcutaneous implantation in body tissues to provide timed release over an extended period of time.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.