1. a group of things wrapped or tied together for easy handling or carrying; a bundle, especially one to be carried on the back of an animal or a person: a mule pack; a hiker’s pack.
  2. a definite quantity or standard measure of something wrapped up or otherwise assembled for merchandising (sometimes used in combination): a pack of cigarettes; a six-pack of beer.
  3. the quantity of something that is packaged, canned, or the like, at one time, in one season, etc.: last year’s salmon pack.
  4. a group of people or things: a pack of fools; a pack of lies.
  5. a group of certain animals of the same kind, especially predatory ones: a pack of wolves.
  6. Hunting. a number of hounds, especially foxhounds and beagles, regularly used together in a hunt.
  7. a complete set of playing cards, usually 52 in number; deck.
  8. backpack.
  9. a considerable area of pieces of floating ice driven or packed together.
  10. Metalworking. a pile of metal sheets for hot-rolling together.
  11. Medicine/Medical.
    1. a wrapping of the body in wet or dry clothes for therapeutic purposes.
    2. the cloths so used.
    3. Obsolete.the state of being so wrapped.
  12. Mining.
    1. Also called pack wall.a rubble wall for supporting a roof.
    2. any of various other roof supports of timber, timber and rubble, or rubble and wire mesh.
  13. a cosmetic material, usually of a pastelike consistency, applied either to the face or to the hair and scalp: a mud pack; a beauty pack; a henna pack.
  14. pac2(def 1).
  15. Obsolete. a plot; conspiracy.
  16. Obsolete. a low or worthless person.

verb (used with object)

  1. to make into a pack or bundle.
  2. to form into a group or compact mass.
  3. to fill with anything compactly arranged: to pack a trunk.
  4. to put into or arrange compactly in a trunk, valise, etc., as for traveling or storage: I packed a two-week supply of clothes for the trip.
  5. to press or crowd together within; cram: The crowd packed the gallery.
  6. to prepare for marketing by putting into containers or packages: to pack fruit for shipping.
  7. to make airtight, vaportight, or watertight by stuffing: to pack the piston of a steam engine.
  8. to cover or envelop with something pressed closely around.
  9. to load, as with packs: We packed the mules and then set off for the lake.
  10. to carry or wear, especially as part of one’s usual equipment: to pack a gun.
  11. Informal. to deliver (a powerful blow, strong message, etc.): He packs a better punch than any heavyweight in years. His speech packed a powerful plea for peace.
  12. to treat with a therapeutic pack.

verb (used without object)

  1. to pack goods in compact form, as for transportation or storage (often followed by up).
  2. to place clothes and personal items in a suitcase, trunk, etc., preparatory to traveling.
  3. to be capable of or suitable for compact storage or packing for transportation: articles that pack well.
  4. to crowd together, as persons: The audience packed into the auditorium.
  5. to become compacted: Wet snow packs readily.
  6. to collect into a group: The grouse began to pack.


  1. transporting, or used in transporting, a pack or load: pack animals.
  2. compressed into a pack; packed.
  3. used in or adapted for packing: pack equipment.
  4. Chiefly Scot. (of animals) tame.

Verb Phrases

  1. pack in/up, to relinquish or give up; quit: One failure was no reason to pack the whole experiment in. After thirty years of touring, the violinist packed his career up and retired.
  2. pack off/away,
    1. to dispatch: We packed the kids off to camp for the summer.
    2. to leave hastily.


  1. pack it in,
    1. to give up; abandon one’s efforts: In 1972 we packed it in and moved back to Florida.
    2. to cease being a nuisance.

verb (used with object)

  1. to choose, collect, arrange, or manipulate (cards, persons, facts, etc.) so as to serve one’s own purposes: to pack the deck; to pack a jury.


  1. Scot. very friendly or intimate.


    1. a bundle or load, esp one carried on the back
    2. (as modifier)a pack animal
  1. a collected amount of anything
  2. a complete set of similar things, esp a set of 52 playing cards
  3. a group of animals of the same kind, esp hunting animalsa pack of hounds
  4. any group or band that associates together, esp for criminal purposes
  5. rugby the forwards of a team or both teams collectively, as in a scrum or in rucking
  6. the basic organizational unit of Cub Scouts and Brownie Guides
    1. a small package, carton, or container, used to retail commodities, esp foodstuffs, cigarettes, etc
    2. (in combination)pack-sealed
  7. US and Canadian a small or medium-sized container of cardboard, paper, etc, often together with its contentsAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): packet
  8. short for pack ice
  9. the quantity of something, such as food, packaged for preservation
  10. med
    1. a sheet or blanket, either damp or dry, for wrapping about the body, esp for its soothing effect
    2. a material such as cotton or gauze for temporarily filling a bodily cavity, esp to control bleeding
  11. short for backpack, rucksack
  12. mining a roof support, esp one made of rubble
  13. short for face pack
  14. a parachute folded and ready for use
  15. computing another name for deck (def. 5)
  16. go to the pack Australian and NZ informal to fall into a lower state or condition


  1. to place or arrange (articles) in (a container), such as clothes in a suitcase
  2. (tr) to roll up into a bundle
  3. (when passive, often foll by out) to press tightly together; cramthe audience packed into the foyer; the hall was packed out
  4. (tr; foll by in or into) to fit (many things, experiences, etc) into a limited space or timeshe packed a lot of theatre visits into her holiday
  5. to form (snow, ice, etc) into a hard compact mass or (of snow, ice, etc) to become compacted
  6. (tr) to press in or cover tightlyto pack a hole with cement
  7. (tr) to load (a horse, donkey, etc) with a burden
  8. (often foll by off or away) to send away or go away, esp hastily
  9. (tr) to seal (a joint) by inserting a layer of compressible material between the faces
  10. (tr) to fill (a bearing or gland) with grease to lubricate it
  11. (tr) to separate (two adjoining components) so that they have a predetermined gap between them, by introducing shims, washers, plates, etc
  12. (tr) med to treat with a pack
  13. (tr) slang to be capable of inflicting (a blow)he packs a mean punch
  14. (tr) US informal to carry or wear habituallyhe packs a gun
  15. (intr often foll by down) rugby to form a scrum
  16. (tr; often foll by into, to, etc) US, Canadian and NZ to carry (goods), esp on the backwill you pack your camping equipment into the mountains?
  17. pack one’s bags informal to get ready to leave
  18. send packing informal to dismiss peremptorily


  1. (tr) to fill (a legislative body, committee, etc) with one’s own supportersto pack a jury

n.“bundle,” early 13c., probably from a Low German word (cf. Middle Dutch pac, pack “bundle,” Middle Low German pak, Middle Flemish pac, attested from late 12c.), originally a term of wool traders in Flanders; or possibly from Old Norse pakki. All are of unknown origin. Italian pacco is a Dutch loan word; French pacque probably is from Flemish. Meaning “set of persons” (usually of a low character) is c.1300, older than sense of “group of hunting animals” (early 15c.). Extended to collective sets of playing cards (1590s), floating ice (1791), cigarettes (1924), and submarines (1943). Meaning “knapsack on a frame” is attested from 1916. Pack of lies first attested 1763. v.c.1300, “to put together in a pack,” from pack (n.), possibly influenced by Anglo-French empaker (late 13c.) and Medieval Latin paccare “pack.” Some senses suggesting “make secret arrangement” are from an Elizabethan mispronunciation of pact. Sense of “to carry or convey in a pack” (1805) led to general sense of “to carry in any manner;” hence to pack heat “carry a gun,” underworld slang from 1940s; “to be capable of delivering” (a punch, etc.), from 1921. Related: Packed; packing. v.

  1. To fill, stuff, plug, or tampon.
  2. To enwrap or envelop the body in a sheet, blanket, or other covering.
  3. To apply a dressing or covering to a surgical site.


  1. The swathing of a patient or body part in hot, cold, wet, or dry materials, such as cloth towels, sheets, or blankets.
  2. The materials so used.
  3. An ice pack; an ice bag.

In addition to the idioms beginning with pack

  • pack a punch
  • packed in like sardines
  • pack it in
  • pack off
  • pack them in
  • also see:

  • Joe six-pack
  • send someone about his or her business (packing)
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