• WordNet 3.6
    • adj pell-mell with undue hurry and confusion "a helter-skelter kind of existence with never a pause","a pell-mell dash for the train"
    • adv pell-mell in a wild or reckless manner "dashing harum-scarum all over the place","running pell-mell up the stairs"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Pell-mell See Pall-mall.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • pell-mell With confused or indiscriminate violence, energy, or eagerness; indiscriminately; promiscuously; confusedly; in a disorderly mass or manner.
    • n pell-mell A variant of pall-mall.
    • pell-mell Tumultuous; promiscuous; disorderly.
    • n pell-mell A mêléc; a confused fight; disorder.
    • pell-mell To mix up promiscuously; pile in confused heaps.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adv Pell-mell pel-mel′ in great confusion: promiscuously: in a disorderly manner—also written Pêle-mêle
    • n Pell-mell (same as Pall-mall)
    • ***


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. pesle-mesle (Fr. pêle-mêle), -mesle being from O. Fr. mesler (Fr. mêler), to mix—Low L. misculāre—L. miscēre; and pesle, a rhyming addition, perh. influenced by Fr. pelle, shovel.


In literature:

Things went from bad to worse with a pell-mell rapidity that made good men shudder.
"Ulysses S. Grant" by Walter Allen
From the hurricane deck came still another shot, and they tumbled down the ladder pell-mell.
"Hurricane Island" by H. B. Marriott Watson
The crowding, crazy herd, and he beside it, were rushing pell-mell down a long, sloping hill.
"With Hoops of Steel" by Florence Finch Kelly
Into the building they went pell-mell, Dave being the last to enter.
"Dave Porter in the Far North" by Edward Stratemeyer
Pell-mell down the stairs ran the children after the monkey.
"Four Little Blossoms at Oak Hill School" by Mabel C. Hawley
Of course the company were greatly frightened, and tumbled down on the stage, pell-mell, all in a heap.
"Harper's Young People, May 11, 1880" by Various
There was a rush for the baskets, and their contents were tumbled out pell-mell on the grass.
"Five Mice in a Mouse-trap" by Laura E. Richards
It was glorious excitement, those pell-mell onslaughts and hand-to-hand struggles.
"The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. X (of X) - America - II, Index" by Various
The hounds swam pell-mell in hot pursuit, and the otter was forced to turn up-stream.
"Creatures of the Night" by Alfred W. Rees
From the boats themselves ruffians were casting their rifles pell-mell into the sea.
"The House Under the Sea" by Sir Max Pemberton

In poetry:

King Victor's brave Italians
Are driving back pell-mell
The Austrian battalions
And weiners will not sell.
"German Securities Fall" by Abner Cosens
As soon as the children began to suspect
That they would lose their presents by neglect,
They rush'd from the gallery, and ran down the stairs pell-mell,
And trampled one another to death, according as they fell.
"The Sunderland Calamity" by William Topaz McGonagall
The faithful mole heard this loud yell
And rushed down to the shore pell-mell.
Alas, alas he was too late
And saw his friend's unhappy fate;
He groaned, and shrieked and tore his fur
And raised an awful din and stir.
"Why The Mole Is Blind" by Edwin Carty Ranck
Still the enemy kept up a blazing fire at them pell-mell,
But they fired too high and not a man of them fell;
And the bullets whistled around them again and again,
Still on went the unwavering Highlanders with might and main.
"The Capture of Lucknow" by William Topaz McGonagall
Down to a cellar; up agen, an' out -
Bananers - brandy jars - we rush pell-mell,
Turnin' to left, to right, then round about
(The parson, after, said it seemed like 'ell)
Through one last orful pong, then up a stair
Into clean air.
"'Ave a 'eart!" by C J Dennis
And each man fought hard with sword and lance pell mell,
And the ranks were instantly filled up as soon as a man fell;
And the Count D'Alencon, boldly charged the Black Prince.
And he cried, yield you, Sir Knight, or I'll make you wince,
"The Battle of Cressy" by William Topaz McGonagall

In news:

These days, it's hard not to think of television programming as a pell-mell race to the bottom.
Since you asked … the American idea was born at approximately 5 pm on Friday, December 2, 1803, the moment Thomas Jefferson sprang the so-called pell -mell on the new British ambassador, Anthony Merry, at dinner in the White House.