1. A small pouch, often consisting of two plastic or foil sheets sealed at the edges, used to distribute single portions of products in the form of liquids, powders, or small pieces: a ketchup packet.
2. A small package or bundle: sent me a packet of newspaper clippings.
3. Informal A sizable sum of money.
4. A boat or ship, usually a coastal or river steamer, that plies a regular route and carries passengers, freight, and mail.
5. A short block of data transmitted in a packet-switching network.
[Middle English paket, pekette, small package, bundle, probably diminutive of pak, pack; see PACK1.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.