or pell·mell



in disorderly, headlong haste; in a recklessly hurried manner.
in a confused or jumbled mass, crowd, manner, etc.: The crowd rushed pell-mell into the store when the doors opened.


indiscriminate; disorderly; confused: a pell-mell dash after someone.
overhasty or precipitate; rash: pell-mell spending.


a confused or jumbled mass, crowd, etc.
disorderly, headlong haste.

Nearby words

  1. pelisse,
  2. pelite,
  3. pelitic,
  4. pelizaeus-merzbacher disease,
  5. pell,
  6. pella,
  7. pellagra,
  8. pellagra-preventive factor,
  9. pellagrin,
  10. pellan

Origin of pell-mell

1570–80; < Middle French pelemele, Old French pesle mesle, rhyming compound based on mesler to mix. See meddle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pell-mell

British Dictionary definitions for pell-mell



in a confused headlong rushthe hounds ran pell-mell into the yard
in a disorderly mannerthe things were piled pell-mell in the room


disordered; tumultuousa pell-mell rush for the exit


disorder; confusion

Word Origin for pell-mell

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



"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

Culture definitions for 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.