or pem·i·can

[ pem-i-kuh n ]
/ ˈpɛm ɪ kən /


dried meat pounded into a powder and mixed with hot fat and dried fruits or berries, pressed into a loaf or into small cakes, originally prepared by North American Indians.

Nearby words

  1. pembina,
  2. pembroke,
  3. pembroke pines,
  4. pembroke table,
  5. pembrokeshire,
  6. pemoline,
  7. pemphigoid,
  8. pemphigus,
  9. pemphigus erythematosus,
  10. pemphigus foliaceus

Origin of pemmican

1735–45; < Cree pimihka·n, derivative of pimihke·w he makes pemmican (mixing together the grease and other ingredients), he makes grease < Proto-Algonquian *pemihke·wa, equivalent to *pemy- grease + *-ehke· make Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pemican

British Dictionary definitions for pemican



/ (ˈpɛmɪkən) /


a small pressed cake of shredded dried meat, pounded into paste with fat and berries or dried fruits, used originally by American Indians and now chiefly for emergency rations

Word Origin for pemmican

C19: from Cree pimikân, from pimii fat, grease

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 pemican



1791, from Cree (Algonquian) /pimihka:n/ from /pimihke:w/ "he makes grease," from pimiy "grease, fat." Lean meat, dried, pounded and mixed with congealed fat and ground berries and formed into cakes used on long journeys. Also used figuratively for "extremely condensed thought or matter."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper