- pail (n.) mid-14c., from O.Fr. paielle "warming pan, liquid measure, bath," possibly from L. patella "small pan, dish," dim. of patina "broad shallow pan" (see PAN (Cf. pan) (n.)). Old English had pægel "wine vessel," but etymology does not support a connection. This word is possibly from M.L. pagella "a measure," from L. pagella "column," dim. of pagina (see PAGE (Cf. page) (n.1)).
Etymology dictionary. 2014.