pail

A pail is a round, open container with a handle. At the beach, you can use a pail to carry water and sand, and also to mold the towers of your sandcastle.

You can also call a pail a bucket — although pail implies a smaller container, exactly the sort a child would use, along with a small shovel, when playing in a sandbox. You might also use a pail to catch drips from a leaky ceiling, or pour a small amount of paint into a pail when you're touching up the trim in your bedroom. This word comes from the Old French paelle, "cooking or frying pan."

Definitions of pail
  1. noun
    a roughly cylindrical vessel that is open at the top
    synonyms: bucket
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 7 types...
    hide 7 types...
    cannikin
    a wooden bucket
    dinner bucket, dinner pail
    a pail in which a workman carries his lunch or dinner
    dredging bucket
    a bucket for lifting material from a channel or riverbed
    kibble
    an iron bucket used for hoisting in wells or mining
    slop jar, slop pail
    a large pail used to receive waste water from a washbasin or chamber pot
    wine bucket, wine cooler
    a bucket of ice used to chill a bottle of wine
    clamshell, grapple
    a dredging bucket with hinges like the shell of a clam
    type of:
    vessel
    an object used as a container (especially for liquids)
  2. noun
    the quantity contained in a pail
    synonyms: pailful
    see moresee less
    type of:
    containerful
    the quantity that a container will hold
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week