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Etymology 1Edit

A clipped form of Middle English ferthe del (literally fourth part), equivalent to fourth +‎ deal. Cognate with Dutch vierendeel (a fourth part, quarter), German Viertel (a quarter, fourth), Danish fjerdedel (a quarter), Swedish fjärdedel (a fourth, quarter).

Alternative formsEdit


fardel (plural fardels)

  1. A fourth part: a quarter of anything.
    • c. 1666, W. Sutherland in R. Wodrow's The history of the sufferings of the Church of Scotland, from the Restauration to the Revolution, volume I, Appendix: page 101:
      I... bought a Farthel of Bread and a Mutckin of Ale.
  2. (historical) An English unit of land area variously understood as the fourth part of an oxgang or of a yardland.
    • a. 1634, W. Noye, The Complete Lawyer, 57:
      You must note, that two Fardells of Land make a Nooke of Land, and two Nookes make halfe a Yard of Land.
    • 1706, Phillips's New World of Words:
      Fardel of Land, the fourth part of a Yard-land.


  • (fourth of anything): See third (4/3 of a quarter & for smaller subdivisions)
  • (fourth of a yardland): See oxgang (2 fardels & for larger divisions)
  • (fourth of an oxgang): See nook (2 fardels & for larger divisions)


  • (fourth of anything): See quarter
  • (fourth of a yardland): See nook


  • (fourth of anything): See fifth (4/5 of a quarter & for smaller subdivisions)
  • (unit of land area): See acre (Various & for small subdivisions)

Related termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English fardel, from Old French fardel (pack, bundle), from Spanish fardel, diminutive of fardo (pack, bundle), from Arabic فَرْدَة(farda, cloth, woman's clothes).

Alternative formsEdit


fardel (plural fardels)

  1. (obsolete) A bundle or burden.
    • 1597–1598, T[homas] M[iddleton], “Satyre 2. Prodigall Zodon.”, in Micro-cynicon: Sixe Snarling Satyres. [], imprinted at London: By Thomas Creede, for Thomas Bushell, [], published 1599, OCLC 837469775; republished as [Edward Vernon Utterson], editor, Micro-cynicon: Sixe Snarling Satyres, [Ryde, Isle of Wight?]: Reprinted at the Beldornie Press, by G. E. Palmer, for Edwd. V. Utterson, 1842, OCLC 1008051468:
      Hees forc't to trot with fardle at his backe, / From houſe to houſe, demaunding if they lacke / A poore yong man that's willing to take paine, / And mickle labour, though for little gaine.
    • c. 1599, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act 3, Scene 1, 1843, J. Payne Collier (editor), The Works of William Shakespeare, page 261,
      Who would fardels bear
      to grunt and sweat under a weary life []
    • 1855 [1606], Henry Middleton, ‎Bolton Corney (editor), The Voyage of Sir Henry Middleton to Bantam and the Maluco Islands, page 13 (of Appendix),
      It doth also appear by the abbreviate of the accounts sent home out of the Indies, that there remained in the hands of the agent, master Starkey, 482 fardels of calicos, viz.: 8 canisters of pintados, and 117 fardels of checkered stuffs, 51 fardels of long malow girdles, [] .
    • 1954, Anya Seyton, Katherine:
      “God in his mercy be thanked” said Katherine. “My dear Lord is then truly and honestly rid of his fardel.”


fardel (third-person singular simple present fardels, present participle fardelling, simple past and past participle fardelled)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To make up in fardels.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Fuller to this entry?)