June 18, 2011
- pell-mell (adverb)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : in confusion or disorder2 : in great haste
- How do you use it?
- When it started raining, my brother and I ran pell-mell toward the house, dropping our stuff behind us as we raced to get under cover.
- Are you a word wiz?
Which of the following words do you think was formed in the same way as "pell-mell"?"Pell-mell" and "shilly-shally" were both formed by starting with one word, copying it with one slight change, then saying it again. Linguists call that process "reduplication," and it has given English terms such as "bow-wow," "helter-skelter," "flip-flop," and "walkie-talkie." "Pell-mell" started with an Old French version of the "mell" part, while "shilly-shally" (which means "to be unable to make up one's mind") began as a single-word compression of the question "Shall I?"