Definition of pell-mell in English:


Line breaks: pell-mell
Pronunciation: /pɛlˈmɛl


In a confused, rushed, or disorderly manner: they rushed pell-mell up the hill
More example sentences
  • Bernard embarked on pell-mell international expansion, building strong operations across the rest of Europe, Asia and Latin America.
  • Behind the marked turnaround: pell-mell economic growth, an ultra-easy monetary policy, and a bank lending boom.
  • Even groups that we have admired are now in pell-mell cowardly retreat.
informal slap bang
archaic hurry-scurry
in disorder, in confusion, in a muddle/jumble, in disarray, in a disorganized manner, untidily, in a mess, in a heap, anyhow
North American informal all over the map, all over the lot


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Hasty or disorganized: steps to slow the pell-mell pace of deforestation
More example sentences
  • Unrelenting tosh, it mixes dodgy accents with over-ripe dialogue, hammy performances and the kind of pell-mell pace that leaves little room for subtlety or reflection.
  • What's been largely missing, though, through these pell-mell days, has been the time to rethink pat agendas rather than fit the facts around them - or the imagination to give the suckers on all sides an even break.
  • Thus, for decades, corporations and individuals have bored deep into fossil water, which is not replenishable - a pell-mell water mining that has left what remains as brackish as the sea.


[in singular] Back to top  
A disorderly situation or collection of things: the pell-mell of ascending gables and roof tiles
More example sentences
  • The clowns are delivering their aid in the most personal way, with not just a joke and a smile, but hugs and tears and the pell-mell of circus-like performances.
  • Yet stealthily he has displayed a tactical nous in Europe even if the pell-mell of the Premiership, especially away from home, remains a mystery to his enigmatic and infuriating charges.
  • It may be a pell-mell of words but feelings should make a piece worth reading.


late 16th century: from French pêle-mêle, from earlier pesle mesle, mesle pesle, reduplication from mesler 'to mix'.

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