[pahrch-muh nt]


the skin of sheep, goats, etc., prepared for use as a material on which to write.
a manuscript or document on such material.
a stiff, off-white paper resembling this material.
a diploma.

Origin of parchment

1275–1325; late Middle English < Middle French, Old French (parche < Latin Parthica (pellis) Parthian (leather) + -ment (compare Medieval Latin percamentum, Dutch perkament)); replacing Middle English parchemin < Old French (-min < Medieval Latin pergamīnum, variant of pergamēnum, for Late Latin Pergamēna charta paper of Pergamum)
Related formsparch·ment·like, parch·ment·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for parchment

paper, diploma, sheepskin, goatskin, scroll, palimpsest, vellum, papyrus, pell

Examples from the Web for parchment

Contemporary Examples of parchment

Historical Examples of parchment

  • He lifted Dennet on his shoulder, and bade her wave her parchment.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • "I can see now that it is even so," said John, examining the parchment again.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Know then that for every parchment in England there are twenty in France.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • His parchment face crackled with an almost tender complacency.

  • I mind the time when her yellow arms were naught but bone and parchment.

British Dictionary definitions for parchment



the skin of certain animals, such as sheep, treated to form a durable material, as for bookbinding, or (esp formerly) manuscripts
a manuscript, bookbinding, etc, made of or resembling this material
a type of stiff yellowish paper resembling parchment
Derived Formsparchmenty, adjective

Word Origin for parchment

C13: from Old French parchemin, via Latin from Greek pergamēnē, from Pergamēnos of Pergamum (where parchment was made); the form of Old French parchemin was influenced by parche leather, from Latin Parthica (pellis) Parthian (leather)
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 parchment

c.1300, parchemin (c.1200 as a surname), from Old French parchemin (11c., Old North French parcamin), from Late Latin pergamena "parchment," noun use of adjective (as in pergamena charta, Pliny), from Late Greek pergamenon "of Pergamon," from Pergamon "Pergamum" (modern Bergama), city in Mysia in Asia Minor where parchment supposedly first was adopted as a substitute for papyrus, 2c. B.C.E. Possibly influenced in Vulgar Latin by Latin parthica (pellis) "Parthian (leather)." Altered in Middle English by confusion with nouns in -ment and by influence of Medieval Latin collateral form pergamentum.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper