the act of separating or dividing into parts and distributing; allotting or apportioning.
Nautical. strips of canvas, usually coated with tar, for wrapping around a rope to protect it.

Origin of parceling

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at parcel, -ing1
Related formsun·par·cel·ing, adjective


[pahr-suh l]


an object, article, container, or quantity of something wrapped or packed up; small package; bundle.
a quantity or unit of something, as of a commodity for sale; lot.
a group, collection, or assemblage of persons or things.
a distinct, continuous portion or tract of land.
a part, portion, or fragment.

verb (used with object), par·celed, par·cel·ing or (especially British) par·celled, par·cel·ling.

to divide into or distribute in parcels or portions (usually followed by out).
to make into a parcel or wrap as a parcel.
Nautical. to cover or wrap (a rope) with strips of canvas.


Archaic. in part; partially.

Origin of parcel

1275–1325; Middle English < Middle French parcelle < Late Latin *particella, fresh formation for Latin particula; see particle, passel
Related formsun·par·celed, adjectiveun·par·celled, adjectiveun·par·cel·ling, adjective

Synonyms for parcel

1. See package. 3. batch, assortment. 6. mete, apportion, deal, allot. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for parceling

Contemporary Examples of parceling

Historical Examples of parceling

British Dictionary definitions for parceling



something wrapped up; package
a group of people or things having some common characteristic
a quantity of some commodity offered for sale; lot
a distinct portion of land
an essential part of something (esp in the phrase part and parcel)

verb -cels, -celling or -celled or US -cels, -celing or -celed (tr)

(often foll by up) to make a parcel of; wrap up
(often foll by out) to divide (up) into portions
nautical to bind strips of canvas around (a rope)


an archaic word for partly

Word Origin for parcel

C14: from Old French parcelle, from Latin particula particle
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 parceling



"to divide into small portions," early 15c. (with out), from parcel (n.). Related: Parceled; parcelled; parceling; parcelling.



late 14c., "a portion of something, a part" (sense preserved in phrase parcel of land, c.1400), from Old French parcele "small piece, particle, parcel," from Vulgar Latin *particella, diminutive of Latin particula "small part, little bit," itself a diminutive of pars (genitive partis) "part" (see part (n.)).

Meaning "package" is first recorded 1640s, earlier "a quantity of goods in a package" (mid-15c.), from late 14c. sense of "an amount or quantity of anything." The expression part and parcel (early 15c.) also preserves the older sense; both words mean the same, the multiplicity is for emphasis.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with parceling


In addition to the idiom beginning with parcel

  • parcel out

also see:

  • part and parcel
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.