1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pack
PACK (apparently from the root pak-, paq-, seen in Lat. pangere, to fasten; cf. “compact”), primarily a bundle or parcel of goods securely wrapped and fastened for transport. The word, in this sense, is chiefly used of the bundles carried by pedlars. It was in early use, according to the New English Dictionary, in the wool trade, and may have been introduced from the Netherlands. As a measure of weight of quantity the term has been in use, chiefly locally, for various commodities, e.g. of wool, 240 lb, of gold-leaf 20 books of 25 leaves each. In a transferred sense, a “pack” is a collection or gathering of persons, animals or things; and the verb means generally to gather together in a compact body. “Pack-ice” is the floating ice which covers wide areas in the polar seas, broken into large pieces which are driven (packed) together by wind and current so as to form practically a continuous sheet. “Packet,” a small parcel, a diminutive of “pack,” was first confined in meaning to a parcel of despatches carried by a post, especially the state despatches or “mail”; and “packet” properly “packet-boat,” was the name given to the vessels which carried these state despatches.