[ pey-per-muh-shey, -ma-; French pa-pyey-mah-shey ]
/ ˌpeɪ pər məˈʃeɪ, -mæ-; French pa pyeɪ mɑˈʃeɪ /


a substance made of pulped paper or paper pulp mixed with glue and other materials or of layers of paper glued and pressed together, molded when moist to form various articles, and becoming hard and strong when dry.


made of papier-mâché.
easily destroyed or discredited; false, pretentious, or illusory: a papier-mâché façade of friendship.

Nearby words

  1. paphlagonia,
  2. paphos,
  3. papiamento,
  4. papier collé,
  5. papier-mache,
  6. papilionaceous,
  7. papilla,
  8. papilla mammae,
  9. papilla of corium,
  10. papillar

Origin of papier-mâché

1745–55; < French: literally, chewed paper Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for papier-mache

British Dictionary definitions for papier-mache


/ (ˌpæpjeɪˈmæʃeɪ, French papjemɑʃe) /


a hard strong substance suitable for painting on, made of paper pulp or layers of paper mixed with paste, size, etc, and moulded when moist


made of papier-mâché

Word Origin for papier-mâché

C18: from French, literally: chewed paper

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

Word Origin and History for papier-mache



also papier mache, 1753, from French papier-mâché, literally "chewed paper," from Old French papier "paper" (see paper (n.)) + mâché "compressed, mashed," from past participle of mâcher, literally "to chew," from Late Latin masticare "masticate" (see mastication).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper