[ puh-pahy-ruhs ]
See synonyms for papyrus on
noun,plural pa·py·ri [puh-pahy-rahy, -ree], /pəˈpaɪ raɪ, -ri/, pa·py·rus·es.
  1. a tall, aquatic plant, Cyperus papyrus, of the sedge family, native to the Nile valley: the Egyptian subspecies, C. papyrus hadidii, thought to be common in ancient times, now occurs only in several sites.

  2. a material on which to write, prepared from thin strips of the pith of this plant laid together, soaked, pressed, and dried, used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.

  1. an ancient document, manuscript, or scroll written on this material.

Origin of papyrus

1350–1400; Middle English papirus<Latin papȳrus<Greek pápȳros

Other words from papyrus

  • pa·py·ral, pa·pyr·i·an [puh-pir-ee-uhn], /pəˈpɪr i ən/, pa·py·rine [puh-pahy-rin], /pəˈpaɪ rɪn/, adjective
  • pap·y·ri·tious [pap-uh-rish-uhs], /ˌpæp əˈrɪʃ əs/, adjective

Words Nearby papyrus Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use papyrus in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for papyrus


/ (pəˈpaɪrəs) /

nounplural -ri (-raɪ) or -ruses
  1. a tall aquatic cyperaceous plant, Cyperus papyrus, of S Europe and N and central Africa with small green-stalked flowers arranged like umbrella spokes around the stem top

  2. a kind of paper made from the stem pith of this plant, used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans

  1. an ancient document written on this paper

Origin of papyrus

C14: via Latin from Greek papūros reed used in making 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