Word Confusion: Packed versus Pact

Posted December 14, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Word Confusions, Writing

Holy cats! That pact is packed with details!

And I’ll just bet that every pact between countries, unions, etc., are packed really tight with who can do what and with which and to whom!

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Packed Pact
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: packed

A shiny pyramid of tightly packed ball bearings.

“FCC Lattice 1” by Thierry Dugnolle under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons

Tightly packed ball bearings form this gleaming pyramid.

Three be-suited men smiling as two of them shake hands in front of a wall at the United Nations

“Yusuf Zafar, Yukiya Amano, & Khursid Anwa” by IAEA Imagebank is under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, via VisualHunt.

A pact is made to study how to handle cancer concerns in Pakistan.

Part of Grammar:

Past Tense or Past Participle for: pack

Verb 1 intransitive & transitive 2

Third person present verb: packs
Gerund or present participle: packing

Plural for noun: pacts
Filled to capacity

  • Full

Pressed together

  • Dense
  • Compressed

[Used in combination] Abundantly supplied with a specified element

Verb, intransitive:
Fill a suitcase or bag, especially with clothes and other items needed when away from home 1

  • Be capable of being folded up for transportation or storage
  • [Often followed by up] To pack goods in compact form, as for transportation or storage

To be capable of or suitable for compact storage or packing for transportation

[Rugby; of players] Form or take their places in a scrum

To crowd together, as persons

To become compacted

To collect into a group

Verb, transitive:
Fill a suitcase or bag, especially with clothes and other items needed when away from home 1

  • Place (something) in a container, especially for transportation or storage
  • Store (something perishable) in a specified substance in order to preserve it

Cram a large number of things into a container or space

  • [Often as the adjective packed; of a large number of people] Crowd into and fill (a room, building, or place)
  • Cover, surround, or fill something
  • Make into a pack or bundle
  • To fill with anything compactly arranged

To prepare for marketing by putting into containers or packages

To make airtight, vaportight, or watertight by stuffing

[Informal] Carry a gun

Fill a jury, committee, etc., with people likely to support a particular verdict or decision 2

  • To choose, collect, arrange, or manipulate (cards, persons, facts, etc.) so as to serve one’s own purposes
A formal agreement between individuals or parties for mutual advantage, usually to either end fighting or to help each other

  • An agreement, covenant, or compact
  • An agreement or treaty between two or more nations
  • An employment contract

A promise between two people

They’ve had a packed theater for every performance.

It’s a packed snow and will be a bugger to shovel.

That was some action-packed movie.

No, I always take a a packed lunch.

Verb, intransitive:
She had packed and checked out of the hotel.

These silver foil blankets pack into a small area.

We often packed down with only seven men.

We’re all packed up in here.

With all the travel that Henry does, I picked up toiletries that packed well.

The audience packed into the auditorium.

They really packed that snow to make that snowman so dense.

The grouse had packed early.

Verb, transitive:
I packed a bag with a few of my favorite clothes.

I packed up my stuff and drove to Detroit.

The organs were packed in ice.

It was a large room, packed with beds jammed side by side.

The waiting room was packed.

He packed the wounds with healing malaguetta.

The sixteen-year-old had made a fortune selling drugs and had packed a gun in the process.

Helen packed it in when she discovered Jeff was cheating on her.

His efforts packed the Supreme Court with men who shared his ideology.

We learned that he had packed the deck.

John and Carl packed the fruit for shipping.

Jenny was determined to stay warmer this winter, so she packed in the insulation and caulked the windows.

Jeez, he packed a wicked punch!

Jesse and Frank formed a pact when they were young.

We made a pact not to argue any more.

Hitler and Mussolini made a pact between Germany and Italy.

It was a result of the settlement of his Metro pact.

“The pact covered two months, September and October, but ‘may be extended by the parties’ the filing states.” – Bill Conroy, “Exclusive: Did This Manhattan Firm Help Shield a Russian Fund From Sanctions?“, The Daily Beast, 10 November 2014

“At the same time, the Warsaw pact threat was disintegrating.” – Bill Sweetman, “How the Pentagon Strangles Its Most Advanced Stealth Warplanes“, The Daily Beast, 13 October 2014

“On the left, they are hemmed in by the pact of solidarity among self-identified oppressed groups.” – James Poulos, “Rand Paul’s Comments on GOP Voter-ID Laws Mark a Turning Point“, The Daily Beast, 13 May 2014

The conference will be an opportunity to discuss a trade pact and a fishing-rights pact.

Adjective: packable, mispacked, well-packed
Phrasal Verb
packed someone off
packed something in
packed something out
History of the Word:
1 Middle English from the Middle Dutch, the Middle Low German pak (noun), pakken (verb).

The verb appears early in Anglo-Latin and Anglo-Norman French in connection with the wool trade; trade in English wool was chiefly with the Low Countries.

2 Early 16th century in the sense of enter into a private agreement, which is probably from the obsolete verb pact meaning enter into an agreement with, the final -t being interpreted as an inflection of the past tense.

Late Middle English from Old French, which is from the Latin pactum meaning something agreed, a neuter past participle of paciscere meaning agree.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Munich Agreement, 30 September 1938, is by a Ministry of Information official photographer and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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