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[pahrch-muh nt] /ˈpɑrtʃ mənt/
the skin of sheep, goats, etc., prepared for use as a material on which to write.
a manuscript or document on such material.
a stiff, off-white paper resembling this material.
a diploma.
Origin of parchment
late Middle English
1275-1325; late Middle English < Middle French, Old French (parche < Latin Parthica (pellis) Parthian (leather) + -ment (compare Medieval Latin percamentum, Dutch perkament)); replacing Middle English parchemin < Old French (-min < Medieval Latin pergamīnum, variant of pergamēnum, for Late Latin Pergamēna charta paper of Pergamum)
Related forms
parchmentlike, parchmenty, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for parchment
  • Live with it or get back to your parchment and typewriter.
  • It is a short-necked wasted lute, the lower chamber having a parchment sound-table.
  • The group thus argued that a forger laid the different colors on the parchment separately to create the appearance of antiquity.
  • Pat out the dough on an oiled sheet of parchment paper.
  • For nearly as long as there have been pen, parchment and wars, there has been military mail.
  • The x-rays revealed iron contained in the ink that had seeped into the parchment.
  • Pull off the parchment paper and let the crust cook.
  • Back in the great hall, an older priest waves a giant wand-essentially a mop of white parchment streamers-over his counterpart.
  • Continue until all six chops are encased in parchment.
  • Shape butter mixture into eight-inch log, wrap in parchment paper, and refrigerate.
British Dictionary definitions for parchment


the skin of certain animals, such as sheep, treated to form a durable material, as for bookbinding, or (esp formerly) manuscripts
a manuscript, bookbinding, etc, made of or resembling this material
a type of stiff yellowish paper resembling parchment
Derived Forms
parchmenty, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French parchemin, via Latin from Greek pergamēnē, from Pergamēnos of Pergamum (where parchment was made); the form of Old French parchemin was influenced by parche leather, from Latin Parthica (pellis) Parthian (leather)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for parchment

c.1300, parchemin (c.1200 as a surname), from Old French parchemin (11c., Old North French parcamin), from Late Latin pergamena "parchment," noun use of adjective (as in pergamena charta, Pliny), from Late Greek pergamenon "of Pergamon," from Pergamon "Pergamum" (modern Bergama), city in Mysia in Asia Minor where parchment supposedly first was adopted as a substitute for papyrus, 2c. B.C.E. Possibly influenced in Vulgar Latin by Latin parthica (pellis) "Parthian (leather)." Altered in Middle English by confusion with nouns in -ment and by influence of Medieval Latin collateral form pergamentum.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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parchment in the Bible

a skin prepared for writing on; so called from Pergamos (q.v.), where this was first done (2 Tim. 4:13).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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