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pell-mell

Syllabification: pell-mell
Pronunciation: /pelˈmel
 
/

Definition of pell-mell in English:

adverb

In a confused, rushed, or disorderly manner: the contents of the sacks were thrown pell-mell to the ground
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.
Synonyms
helter-skelter, headlong, (at) full tilt, hotfoot, posthaste, hurriedly, hastily, recklessly, precipitately
untidily, anyhow, in disarray, in a mess, in a muddle
informal all over the place, every which way, any old how, all over the map, all over the lot

adjective

Back to top  
Recklessly hasty or disorganized; headlong: steering the pell-mell development of Europe onto a new and more gradual course
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.

noun

[in singular] Back to top  
A state of affairs or collection of things characterized by haste or confusion: 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.

Origin

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

More
  • People like words that combine two almost identical forms, like helter-skelter (late 16th century), mishmash (Late Middle English), namby-pamby, and wishy-washy (late 17th century)—and pell-mell. Its second element represents a form of French mesler ‘to mix’ (related to medley). The first part might be from pelle ‘shovel’, giving the sense ‘mixed together with a shovel’, but the simple love of rhyme may be the only explanation needed.

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