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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples 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, from O.Fr. perchemin (O.N.Fr. parcamin), from L.L. pergamenum "parchment," from Late Gk. pergamenon "of Pergamon," in allusion to Pergamon "Pergamum" (modern Bergama), city in Mysia in Asia Minor where it was supposedly first adopted as a substitute for papyrus, 2c. B.C.E. Possibly infl. in V.L. by L. parthica (pellis) "Parthian (leather)." Alt. in M.E. by confusion with nouns in -ent.
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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