[pahr-muh-zahn, -zan, -zuh n; pahr-muh-zahn, -zan]
  1. (sometimes lowercase) Also called Parmesan cheese. a hard, dry variety of Italian cheese made from skim milk, usually grated and sprinkled over pasta dishes and soups.

Origin of Parmesan

1510–20; < Middle French < Italian parmigiano pertaining to Parma Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for parmesan cheese

Parmesan cheese

  1. a hard dry cheese made from skimmed milk, used grated, esp on pasta dishes and soups


  1. of or relating to Parma or its inhabitants
  1. a native or inhabitant of Parma
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 parmesan cheese



type of dry, hard cheese, 1550s, from Italian Parmegiano "of Parma," from Parma, city in northern Italy, one of the places where the cheese is made. Full form parmeson chese is recorded from 1510s. The place name ultimately is Etruscan.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper