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[sheep-skin] /ˈʃipˌskɪn/
the skin of a sheep, especially such a skin dressed with the wool on, as for a garment.
leather, parchment, or the like, made from the skin of sheep.
Informal. a diploma.
made from the skin of a sheep.
(of a garment) lined with the skin of a sheep dressed with the wool on.
Origin of sheepskin
First recorded in 1150-1200, sheepskin is from the Middle English word shepskinn. See sheep, skin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sheepskin
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I didn't blame him for stopping up there on his sheepskin, eye to eye with the girl.

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • The coachman had mounted to his box, and was wrapping a sheepskin about his knees.

  • The footman (who survived) had no time to see the face of the man in the sheepskin coat.

    Under Western Eyes Joseph Conrad
  • The sheepskin blankets with the wool on were almost as black as soot.

    The Land of the Long Night Paul du Chaillu
  • Each one took off his sheepskin jacket, reversed it and put it on again.

    Debts of Honor Maurus Jkai
  • "I hope you will go back to school, Ben, and get your sheepskin," she said.

    In Apple-Blossom Time

    Clara Louise Burnham
  • Could that savage in the sheepskin be my courteous entertainer?

  • Dennis Isler put tin jingles in it and put on a sheepskin head.

    Watch Yourself Go By Al. G. Field
  • Since about 1860 sheepskin as sheepskin is hardly to be found.

British Dictionary definitions for sheepskin


  1. the skin of a sheep, esp when used for clothing, etc, or with the fleece removed and used for parchment
  2. (as modifier): a sheepskin coat
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 sheepskin

c.1200, "the skin of a sheep," from sheep + skin (n.). Meaning "diploma" dates from 1804; so called because formerly made of sheepskin parchment.

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



A college or university diploma

[1804+; fr the fact that diplomas were once made of sheepskin]

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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