[ pal-it ]
/ ˈpæl ɪt /
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a bed or mattress of straw.
a small or makeshift bed.
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Origin of pallet

1325–75; Middle English pailet <Anglo-French paillete, equivalent to Old French paille “straw” (<Latin palea “chaff”) + -ete -ette


palate, palette, pallet

Other definitions for pallet (2 of 2)

[ pal-it ]
/ ˈpæl ɪt /

verb (used with object), pal·let·ed, pal·let·ing.

Origin of pallet

First recorded in 1550–60, pallet is from the Middle French word palette small shovel. See palette
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What’s the difference between pallet, palette, and palate?

The word pallet most commonly refers to a flat, square (often wood) platform used to hold goods for shipping (it’s sometimes called a skid). A palette is that board that painters keep their paints on while painting (most traditionally, an oval one with a thumbhole for holding). The word palate refers to the roof of the mouth. More figuratively, palate can refer to a person’s particular sense of taste (as in the way they perceive flavors), or to a person’s general, intellectual taste (as in their specific preferences for things).

All three of these words are pronounced exactly the same, and they’re always used as nouns.

The word palette is closely associated with art and color. It can also refer to a collection or range of colors or techniques. For example, the term color palette refers to a specific set of colors, such as the ones that a particular artist typically works with.

The word pallet can sometimes be used to refer to a painter’s palette, but this spelling is much less commonly used.

So how to keep all three spellings straight?

A palette is the thing a painter always keeps on hand—literally—while painting. In this way, you can think of a painter’s palette (which is spelled with one L) as a painter’s pal.

A pallet (ending in -let) is the platform that lets shippers easily transport goods.

Think of palate (ending in -ate) as a word related to what you ate.

Here’s an example of pallet, palette, and palate used correctly in a sentence.

Example: The art installation consists of wooden pallets painted in a vibrant palette of colors—it’s interesting, but it’s not quite suited to my palate. 

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between pallet, palette, and palate.

Quiz yourself on pallet vs. palette vs. palate!

Should pallet, palette, or palate be used in the following sentence?

The designer is known for using a muted color _____.

How to use pallet in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pallet (1 of 2)

/ (ˈpælɪt) /

a straw-filled mattress or bed
any hard or makeshift bed

Word Origin for pallet

C14: from Anglo-Norman paillet, from Old French paille straw, from Latin palea straw

undefined pallet

Avoid confusion with palette, palate

British Dictionary definitions for pallet (2 of 2)

/ (ˈpælɪt) /

an instrument with a handle and a flat, sometimes flexible, blade used by potters for shaping
a standard-sized platform of box section open at two ends on which goods may be stacked. The open ends allow the entry of the forks of a lifting truck so that the palletized load can be raised and moved about easily
horology the locking lever that engages and disengages alternate end pawls with the escape wheel to give impulses to the balance
a variant spelling of palette (def. 1)
music a flap valve of wood faced with leather that opens to allow air from the wind chest to enter an organ pipe, causing it to sound

Word Origin for pallet

C16: from Old French palette a little shovel, from pale spade, from Latin pala spade

undefined pallet

Avoid confusion with palette, palate
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