The Meaning of Parcel

Words are fascinating when we don’t take them for granted. We seldom consider their history, how they came to be formed, what other language they were derived from, what meanings they once had compared to the meanings they now have.  

“Parcel” is one of those words that has largely fallen out of general use, unless perhaps you work in real estate or land surveying. Besides referring to a piece of land, it has another meaning. Maybe you remember that UPS started as The United Parcel Service. Parcel was once more commonly understood to refer to “a thing or collection of things wrapped in paper in order to be carried or sent by mail.” That’s such a precise definition, especially the “wrapped in paper part.” Being “sent by mail” is pretty specific as well. 

Together those two phrases evoke a very particular image in our thinking. It’s a nostalgic image, maybe a little Norman Rockwell-esque. Back before our world was chaotically digital, before our inboxes had to be drained from the deluge of daily arrivals, before we expected instantaneous responses, we used to receive parcels.  

The best was when they were unexpected.  

We love that! We love the delight that someone on the other side of the equation experiences when they receive an unexpected parcel. We love being the catalyst for that ripple of kindness.  

But, there’s another interesting aspect to the definition of “parcel.” Look a little deeper into the entry and you will find a fascinating little snippet of the word’s origin.  

Parcel (the origin of the word from Old French parcelle, from Latin particula ‘small part.’)

“A small part.” That carries a great significance for those of us here at The Parcel Market. It’s not just that we’ve created a market to sell products. No. It’s much deeper than that. Given our skills, time, and purpose, we are doing our small part in bringing independent quality goods to the attention of others. We are doing our small part in helping to promote small business job creation in our communities. And we are doing our small part to advocate for those who place purpose over profit.  

We love parcels. And we hope you will too! 


Brent Warwick serves as one of the partners at ipsoCreative 

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