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), par·a·chut·ed, par·a·chut·ing.

to drop or land (troops, equipment, supplies, etc.) by parachute.

verb (used without object), par·a·chut·ed, par·a·chut·ing.

to descend by parachute.

Origin of parachute

1775–85; < French, equivalent to para- para-2 + chute fall; see chute1
Related formspar·a·chut·ic, adjectivepar·a·chut·ist, par·a·chut·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for parachute

plummet, skip, dive, drop, bound, bounce, surge, take, hop, fall, vault, top, quiver, barge, rattle, pop, hurdle, shake, trip, caper

Examples from the Web for parachute

Contemporary Examples of parachute

Historical Examples of parachute

  • 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.

  • He came down by parachute, without the ball in which he should have sealed himself.

  • 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 Formsparachutist, noun

Word Origin for parachute

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

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