The Word-Hoard: Pellmell




1. In a disorderly, headlong haste; in a recklessly hurried manner.

2. In a confused or jumbled mass, crowd, manner, etc.



1. Indiscriminate; disorderly; confused.

2. Overhasty or precipitate; rash.



1. A confused or jumbled mass, crowd, etc.

2. A disorderly, headlong haste.


“Pellmell” in a cool little multiform word from the French pele-mele, a rhyme based on the stem mesler, which means “to mix or muddle.” Aside from the satisfying rhyme of it, perhaps what I like best about this one is its versatility. That is, it can be employed as a noun, adjective, or adverb, all with very nearly the same meaning. It’s especially well-suited to the rushed chaos associated with combat or a chase.


“Since I am gone the camp will be in turmoil. There will be curses and shouts: high anger. The Emblems will run to their leap-horses, and be off pellmell!”

– Jack Vance, City of the Chasch (1968)

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