Definition of packet in US English:


nounPlural packets

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

    ‘sow seeds 2 to 3 inches apart or as recommended on the seed packets’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A big pint mug came out of one, a packet of loose tea and a bag of sugar out of another.’
    • ‘I realised that a few more things have gone: my canvas bag, my new water-proof jacket, a packet of batteries.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘No problem, said Jim as he reached for a big mixing bowl and a packet of flour.’
    • ‘They say the food is inadequate, with meals consisting of little more than soup and chips, or a packet of cornflakes for breakfast.’
    • ‘We were surprised to receive a bowl containing individual paper packets of sugar with our coffee.’
    • ‘A packet of questionnaires and envelopes was sent home with all children in the appropriate age range at each of the participating daycare centers.’
    • ‘Each week he sends the paper a packet of drawings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the late 1800s, cigarettes were sold in soft paper packets.’
    • ‘He handed her a packet of papers and walked away.’
    • ‘To help spread the word, Cycle of Hope is distributing a free information packet with something for everybody.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On it he put a sheet of blank paper and a packet of crayons before he pulled over a chair.’
    • ‘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.’
    pack, carton, box, cardboard box, container, case, package, parcel, padded bag
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    1. 1.1 The contents of a packet.
      ‘he smoked a packet of cigarettes a day’
  • 2dated A ship traveling 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The dark bulk of Vancouver Island lay on the port side of the steam packet, Laurie.’
    • ‘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
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  • 3Computing
    A block of data transmitted across a network.

    • ‘A router is a computer networking device that forwards data packets toward their destinations through a process known as routing.’
    • ‘But the method can also be used for other applications, as traffic control of data packets on a communication network.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Packet switching involves dividing messages into packets and individually transmitting them across the network to their destination.’
    • ‘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.’

verbpacketed, packets, packeting

[with object]
  • Make up into or wrap up in a packet.

    ‘packet a basket of take-out and head for Gooseberry Beach’
    • ‘On Fridays the cashier used to come down into the room with a tray holding the wages all packeted up.’
    • ‘We spent afternoons picking wild strawberries and raspberries and wildflowers, which were carefully packeted up and sent home to cheer everyone up.’
    tie, tie up, tie together, do up, pack, pack up, pack together, package, parcel, parcel up, packet, wrap, wrap up, roll, roll up, wind up, fold, fold up, furl, bind, bind up, fasten together, bale, truss, truss up
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Mid 16th century: diminutive of pack, perhaps from Anglo-Norman French; compare with Anglo-Latin paccettum.