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[pem-i-kuh n] /ˈpɛm ɪ kən/
dried meat pounded into a powder and mixed with hot fat and dried fruits or berries, pressed into a loaf or into small cakes, originally prepared by North American Indians.
Origin of pemmican
1735-45; < Cree pimihka·n, derivative of pimihke·w he makes pemmican (mixing together the grease and other ingredients), he makes grease < Proto-Algonquian *pemihke·wa, equivalent to *pemy- grease + *-ehke· make Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pemmican
  • High-energy food came in an unappetizing mix of rendered fats called pemmican.
  • They ate the berries mostly in pemmican, but also used them for dye and medicine.
  • Let fat cool and cut pemmican into candy-bar-sized chunks.
  • Indians and explorers sometimes included these berries in their preparation of pemmican.
  • One of their favorite meals to make with cranberries was pemmican.
  • Indians crushed and dried them for winter use, or to make pemmican.
  • Cranberries were an important ingredient in pemmican, the pounded dried meat and fat food that would keep forever.
  • pemmican is a prepared and condensed food, made from beef, fat and dried fruits.
British Dictionary definitions for pemmican


a small pressed cake of shredded dried meat, pounded into paste with fat and berries or dried fruits, used originally by American Indians and now chiefly for emergency rations
Word Origin
C19: from Cree pimikân, from pimii fat, grease
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 pemmican

1791, from Cree (Algonquian) /pimihka:n/ from /pimihke:w/ "he makes grease," from pimiy "grease, fat." Lean meat, dried, pounded and mixed with congealed fat and ground berries and formed into cakes used on long journeys. Also used figuratively for "extremely condensed thought or matter."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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