Definition of packet in English:



  • 1A paper or cardboard container, typically one in which goods are sold.

    ‘one man was fined £ 25 for dropping a crisp packet from his car window’
    • ‘Along with his twin brother Morris, he was involved in the family business, GB Nicol and Sons, that sold everything from a packet of pins to a complete house of furniture.’
    • ‘He handed her a packet of papers and walked away.’
    • ‘Many of the litter bins along the Esplanade were less than a quarter full while the gutters along the road and all the grassed areas contained paper, packets, bottles and empty cans.’
    • ‘To confirm this, he led me through to his kitchen, where he opened a cupboard to reveal several large cardboard boxes containing packets of salt, each of which weighed about a pound.’
    • ‘We were surprised to receive a bowl containing individual paper packets of sugar with our coffee.’
    • ‘They say the food is inadequate, with meals consisting of little more than soup and chips, or a packet of cornflakes for breakfast.’
    • ‘A packet of questionnaires and envelopes was sent home with all children in the appropriate age range at each of the participating daycare centers.’
    • ‘In the late 1800s, cigarettes were sold in soft paper packets.’
    • ‘No problem, said Jim as he reached for a big mixing bowl and a packet of flour.’
    • ‘The hut consisted of one room with two beds and a fridge containing a can of lemonade, a packet of hot dogs, an opened box of Belgian chocolates and a tube of ointment.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, the well-heeled woman is trying to use her special powers to pass a packet of tissue paper to the injured man through the closed glass door.’
    • ‘The week following a trucker gave his personal view regarding the need to come off the bypass to get a packet of cigarettes and a paper.’
    • ‘I realised that a few more things have gone: my canvas bag, my new water-proof jacket, a packet of batteries.’
    • ‘To help spread the word, Cycle of Hope is distributing a free information packet with something for everybody.’
    • ‘A small bottle of your favorite seasoned salt, herb jelly or vinegar would also make a fine gift, as well as would a packet of herb seeds or a little pot of fresh herbs.’
    • ‘On it he put a sheet of blank paper and a packet of crayons before he pulled over a chair.’
    • ‘There is a skills shortage nationally and, who knows, you may well end up with well-paid employment that you enjoy and that gives you the security of a weekly wage packet.’
    • ‘A big pint mug came out of one, a packet of loose tea and a bag of sugar out of another.’
    • ‘The vast majority did have at least one piece of fruit, usually an apple or a banana, but most lunch boxes also contained a bar of chocolate and a packet of crisps.’
    • ‘Each week he sends the paper a packet of drawings.’
    pack, carton, box, cardboard box, container, case, package, parcel, padded bag
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The contents of a packet.
      ‘I can eat a whole packet of biscuits in one go’
  • 2British informal [in singular] A large sum of money.

    ‘a hectic social life could cost a packet’
    • ‘Sure some models cost a packet, but like most things, you get what you pay for.’
    • ‘Fees are higher than in Ireland, but they operate in much the same manner, so negotiating fees will save you a packet.’
    • ‘This training trip must have cost a packet, but all the Bolton lads not on international duty are over here in Spain for the week - even the young pros.’
    • ‘The mass of such coverage is explained by newspapers having paid a packet for a story and wanting their money's worth.’
    • ‘And, in keeping with Netgear's philosophy that technology shouldn't cost a packet, it comes at an affordable price, writes Dave Mitchell.’
    • ‘It may cost a packet, but devolution should provide far greater powers of scrutiny to give ministers and civil service chiefs the chance to enact change more quickly.’
    • ‘Pick up the lovely, quality cotton goods and you'll be saving a packet on prices in our local High Street.’
    • ‘It will also save you from the despair of flea ridden hotel rooms that cost a packet.’
    • ‘It's a bit of an indulgence and cost a packet, but I like it.’
    • ‘I would have loved to have had the London Philharmonic Orchestra playing on a big stage, but that would have cost a packet.’
    • ‘Jack is demanding that all MSPs who've made a packet on their subsidised second homes in Edinburgh hand back the cash.’
    • ‘Still, she thought, they'd cost a packet at the florists.’
    • ‘If you're happy with the credit card you've got and travel abroad more than once a year, taking out an additional card for holidays only could save you a packet in unfair fees.’
    a fortune, a considerable sum of money, a large sum of money, a vast sum of money, a king's ransom
    View synonyms
  • 3dated A ship travelling at regular intervals between two ports, originally for the conveyance of mail.

    • ‘The packet ships were the big boats, they didn't have tenders that I know of.’
    • ‘The dark bulk of Vancouver Island lay on the port side of the steam packet, Laurie.’
    • ‘It was built to serve the mail packet boat from Milford Haven.’
    • ‘Pittsford has a number of retail stores and restaurants that are built around an old lumber mill and it is the home of the Sam Patch, an excursion and charter boat that is a replica of an old canal packet boat.’
    • ‘His shipboard view of a Dutch packet boat crossing the Channel conveys vividly both the exhilaration and the discomfort inherent in such a crossing.’
    passenger boat, passenger ship, ferry boat, packet boat, shuttle
    View synonyms
  • 4Computing
    A block of data transmitted across a network.

    • ‘Billing is done for the point of attachment to the network and the number of packets sent over the network, rather than for the length of time the user is connected.’
    • ‘A router is a computer networking device that forwards data packets toward their destinations through a process known as routing.’
    • ‘Packet switching involves dividing messages into packets and individually transmitting them across the network to their destination.’
    • ‘Packet loss describes an error condition in which data packets appear to be transmitted correctly at one end of a connection, but never arrive at the other end.’
    • ‘But the method can also be used for other applications, as traffic control of data packets on a communication network.’


  • Wrap up in a packet.

    ‘packeted fruit pies’
    • ‘We spent afternoons picking wild strawberries and raspberries and wildflowers, which were carefully packeted up and sent home to cheer everyone up.’
    • ‘On Fridays the cashier used to come down into the room with a tray holding the wages all packeted up.’


Mid 16th century: diminutive of pack, perhaps from Anglo-Norman French; compare with Anglo-Latin paccettum.