Find the word definition

Crossword clues for pellet

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Also send in any records of mole remains in owl pellets or the diets of other predators.
▪ Also send in any records of mole remains in owl pellets or the diets of other predators.
▪ Bone and pellets preserved at an owl's nest site are often exposed to trampling by the owls themselves.
▪ Doctors feared an air rifle pellet had pierced his brain when the joke went horribly wrong.
▪ It was an accident of course but old Colonel Saunchie got a few pellets in him.
▪ Jack took pellets in the right lung, liver, and back, and his left arm was again badly fractured.
▪ Jack took my fingers and ran them over the back of his head where he said there were still some shotgun pellets.
▪ The containers are made of peat and wood fiber laced with soluble fertilizer and peat pellets that expand when watered.
▪ When the lever is pressed, a food pellet drops through a thin tube.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Pellet \Pel"let\, v.?. To form into small balls. [Obs.]


Pellet \Pel"let\, n. [F. pelote, LL. pelota, pilota, fr. L. pila a ball. Cf. Platoon.]

  1. A little ball; as, a pellet of wax ? paper.

  2. A bullet; a ball for firearms. [Obs.]

    As swift as a pellet out of a gun.

    Pellet molding (Arch.), a narrow band ornamented with smalt, flat disks.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

mid-14c., from Old French pelote "small ball" (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *pilotta, diminutive of Latin pila "ball, playing ball, the game of ball," perhaps originally "ball of hair," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)).


"to form into pellets," 1590s, from pellet (n.).


n. 1 A small, compressed, hard chunk of matter. 2 A lead projectile used as ammunition in rifled air guns. 3 Compressed byproduct of digestion regurgitated by owls. Serves as a waste disposal mechanism for indigestible parts of food, such as fur and bones. 4 (context heraldiccharge English) A roundel sable (black circular spot; also called ogress). vb. 1 To form into pellets 2 To strike with pellets

  1. n. a small sphere

  2. a solid missile discharged from a firearm; "the shot buzzed past his ear" [syn: shot]


Pellet are small particles typically created by compressing an original material. Specific items often termed 'pellet' include:

  • Pelletizing, the industrial process used to create pellets, using a pellet mill
  • Microplastics (plastic resin pellets), a raw material used in plastics manufacturing
  • Compound feed (animal feed pellet), a foodstuff produced from various raw materials and additives
  • Pellet (ornithology), a round ball of undigested matter that some bird species regurgitate
  • Pellet stove fuel:
    • wood pellets
    • Corn pellets, used in Corn and pellet stoves and furnaces
  • Precipitation (chemistry), as formed during centrifugation
  • Pellet (software), an open-source Java OWL DL reasoner
  • Pellets (petrology), a form of carbonate sedimentary structure found in limestones
  • Pellet (air gun), non-spherical projectiles fired from air guns
  • Airsoft pellets, spherical plastic projectiles used in Airsoft guns
  • Lead shot, metal balls that are fired from a shotgun
Other uses
  • A black Roundel (heraldry)
Pellet (ornithology)

A pellet, in ornithology, is the mass of undigested parts of a bird's food that some bird species occasionally regurgitate. The contents of a bird's pellet depend on its diet, but can include the exoskeletons of insects, indigestible plant matter, bones, fur, feathers, bills, claws, and teeth. In falconry, the pellet is called a casting.

The passing of pellets allows a bird to remove indigestible material from its proventriculus, or glandular stomach. In birds of prey, the regurgitation of pellets serves the bird's health in another way, by "scouring" parts of the digestive tract, including the gullet. Pellets are formed within six to ten hours of a meal in the bird's gizzard (muscular stomach).

Ornithologists may collect one species' pellets over time to analyze the seasonal variation in its eating habits. One advantage of collecting pellets is that it allows for the determination of diet without the killing and dissection of the bird. Pellets are found in different locations, depending on the species. In general, roosting and nesting sites are good places to look: for most hawks and owls, under coniferous trees; for barn owls, at the bases of cliffs or in barns and silos; for yet other species of owls, at their burrows or in marsh and field grasses.

Hawk and owl pellets are grey or brown, and range in shape from spherical to oblong or plug-shaped. In large birds, they are one to two inches long, and in songbirds, about half an inch. Many other species produce pellets, including grebes, herons, cormorants, gulls, terns, kingfishers, crows, jays, dippers, shrikes, swallows, and most shorebirds.

Ornithologists examining pellets have discovered unusual items in them—even bird bands that were once attached to a smaller species that was consumed by the predator bird. In the United States, screech owl pellets have contained bands from a tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadee, and American goldfinch. In 1966, a golden eagle pellet in Oregon was found to contain a band placed on an American wigeon four months earlier, and away in southern California.

The hair, bones and other body parts (such as limbs, skin fragments, and even faeces) of rodents found in owl pellets may carry viable rodent viruses and bacteria. It is therefore advisable to sterilize pellets in a microwave oven before study. This is particularly important when using pellets at school. Recently, Smith et al. described two pellet-borne outbreaks of Salmonella typhimurium in public schools. Rodents tend to avoid owl pellets, apparently due to their infective potential.

Pellet (air gun)

A pellet is a non-spherical projectile designed to be fired from an air gun. Air gun pellets differ from bullets and shot used in firearms because of the pressures encountered: airguns operate at pressures as low as 50 atmospheres, while firearms operate at thousands of atmospheres. Airguns generally use a slightly undersized projectile that is designed to obturate upon shooting so as to seal the bore, and engage the rifling; firearms have sufficient pressure to force a slightly oversized bullet to fit the bore in order to form a tight seal. Since pellets may be shot through a smoothbore barrel, they are often designed to be inherently stable, much like the Foster slugs used in smoothbore shotguns

The "diabolo" (or " wasp waist pellet") is the most common design found today. It can have a flat, round, hollow or pointed tip, followed by a taper to a thin waist. From the waist back, the pellet is hollow, and flares out to full diameter when pressurized by the gun. The head, or solid part in front of the waist, is usually sized to fit the bore just touching the rifling. This keeps the pellet centred in the bore, while keeping the friction as low as possible. The effect of friction is used in order to keep the pellet stationary until the piston has reached the end of its travel, compressing as much air as is inherently possible. The skirt of the pellet is thin, and made of a malleable material, usually lead or lead alloy, although non-toxic alternatives are available that use tin or even plastic. When shot, the skirt will obturate to fit the bore and provide a good seal, and engage the rifling, whereby imparting spin. In a smoothbore barrel, the skirt will still flare to provide a tight seal, but since there is no rifling, the pellet will not spin, and is less accurate. In most cases of this type, the solid head in the front and hollow skirt in back will work to prevent the pellet from tumbling. However, this is not always the case, and some ammo types of this nature will tumble in flight, and hit the target sideways. When this happens the pellet will not leave a clean, round hole in the paper, but will instead, leave behind a keyhole-shaped silhouette. This phenomenon is known as keyholing.

Pellets are designed to travel at subsonic speeds. High velocities can cause light pellets to overly deform, or even break apart in flight. The transition from subsonic to supersonic velocities will cause almost all pellets to tumble. The closer a pellet gets to the speed of sound, the more unstable it becomes. This is a problem for high powered break-barrel and pre-charged pneumatic air rifles, which often can push a normal pellet to velocities exceeding the speed of sound. A few companies have addressed this issue by manufacturing heavier than normal pellets for use in these high powered air guns. The heavier weight of these pellets ensure that they will travel at speeds well below the sound barrier, resulting in less tumbling and more overall accuracy. Their weight also makes them less susceptible to air resistance, and thus imparts more kinetic energy downrange, increasing lethality.

Usage examples of "pellet".

During the sweating stage the patient should be left alone, but as soon as the perspiration ceases, from two to four of the Purgative Pellets should be administered, as a gentle cathartic.

The platform was scarred with deep, charcoal-blistered trenches made by the reflected beams of energy weapons and pocked with thousands of splintered gouges and impact holes from ricocheting slugs and rifle pellets, and blasphemies and cabbalistic signs had been carved into the polished ancient planks, but the huge black disc of the shrine itself, being only partly of this world, was inviolate.

But his eyes were on the innocent-appearing walking stick, actually a cosher, a leather tube filled with tiny pellets.

The egg-shaped shell was a miniature laser array with a deuterium pellet at the heart of it.

Cut off the light that the lasers were pouring into the deuterium fuel pellets and the reactor would shut down.

He gave no grip to Colney, who groaned at cheap Donnish sarcasm, and let him go, after dealing him a hard pellet or two in a cracker-covering.

He threw the gisarme to one side, pulled the pellet pistol from his waistband and threw that away too.

By that time, she realized, the impactor would be launched and the last pusher pellets en route to it.

Something tickled his mind: the recollection of the Mek who had fired the pellet gun.

I have a paintball gun and a pellet gun for the rabbit in the shooting gallery.

Having grown up with the toylike BB and pellet guns designed primarily for the youth market, I tended to regard air-powered arms as simply plinkers and playthings, not as serious tools.

Mabry extended his credentials to the waiting cop, a man in full armor under his coveralls, with a stunstick at his belt and a pellet gun slung across his shoulder.

Lipo looked like engorged Smarties, rounder and a bit softer, essentially yet another mutation of sugar pellets.

That was the big pay-off, the triadic bonus, which came as surely as the energy bounty obtained by adding that last pellet of fissionable material.

I should use one of your tryp pellets on you and leave you here to explain to Quinn.