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[par-uh-shoot] /ˈpær əˌʃut/
a folding, umbrellalike, fabric device with cords supporting a harness or straps for allowing a person, object, package, etc., to float down safely through the air from a great height, especially from an aircraft, rendered effective by the resistance of the air that expands it during the descent and reduces the velocity of its fall.
Horology. a shockproofing device for the balance staff of a watch, consisting of a yielding, springlike support for the bearing at either end.
  1. the aggregate of benefits, as severance pay or vacation pay, given an employee who is dismissed from a company.
  2. golden parachute.
verb (used with object), parachuted, parachuting.
to drop or land (troops, equipment, supplies, etc.) by parachute.
verb (used without object), parachuted, parachuting.
to descend by parachute.
Origin of parachute
1775-85; < French, equivalent to para- para-2 + chute fall; see chute1
Related forms
parachutic, adjective
parachutist, parachuter, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for parachute
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He knew he was falling, jerking down as the parachute ripped on the boughs.

    Raiders Invisible Desmond Winter Hall
  • This was attached to a parachute which, if the emergency arose, could be dropped.

    Lords of the Stratosphere Arthur J. Burks
  • He came down by parachute, without the ball in which he should have sealed himself.

    Lords of the Stratosphere Arthur J. Burks
  • He had no parachute and no life belt or Mae West suit to float him.

  • Your hand weapons and food supplies will be dropped by parachute as we leave.

    The Space Rover Edwin K. Sloat
British Dictionary definitions for parachute


  1. a device used to retard the fall of a man or package from an aircraft, consisting of a large fabric canopy connected to a harness
  2. (as modifier): parachute troops Sometimes shortened to chute See also brake parachute
(of troops, supplies, etc) to land or cause to land by parachute from an aircraft
(in an election) to bring in (a candidate, esp someone well known) from outside the constituency
Derived Forms
parachutist, noun
Word Origin
C18: from French, from para-² + chute fall
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 parachute

1784 (the year the use of one first was attempted, in Paris), from French parachute, literally "that which protects against a fall," hybrid coined by French aeronaut François Blanchard (1753-1809) from para- "defense against" (see para- (2)) + chute "a fall" (see chute).

PARACHUTE, a kind of large and strong umbrella, contrived to break a person's fall from an airballoon, should any accident happen to the balloon at a high elevation. ["Supplement to the Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of Arts and Sciences," Philadelphia, 1803]


1807, from parachute (n.). Related: Parachuted; parachuting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for parachute



: A mixture of crack cocaine and heroin known as ''parachute'' (1980s+ Narcotics)

Related Terms

golden parachute

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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